Annual Report 2009

MESSAGE FROM THE MANAGEMENTANNUAL REPORT 20092The Changing Business Environment in Fiscal 2008 Fiscal 2008 saw difficult conditions in both the economy as a whole and the agricultural operating environment, owing to high prices of oil and other production materials such as fertilizers and animal feed, as well as the economic downturn triggered by the U.S. financial crisis. While Zenkyoren too has been affected by the recent credit crunch, we have nevertheless been able to realize a solid business performance by following our basic policy of seeking long-term, stable earnings.Meanwhile, against the backdrop of a succession of scandals involving food safety, the attention of Japanese consumers has become focused more than ever on safety and reliability of food, and consumers have been deserting imported food products in favor of home-grown produce. Zenkyoren aims to widely publicize its role of Japan’s agriculture and JA, as a member of the JA Group, in ensuring a sufficient supply of safe and reliable agricultural and livestock products through a national campaign for local production and local consumption.The financial crisis that triggered the current economic downturn has highlighted some of the shortcomings of the principles of market fundamentalism and the ideology of globalism. In view of this, the social role of cooperative societies such as Zenkyoren, whose business activities are based on the principle of mutual aid, is expected to become increasingly important.Despite the rapidly changing business environment, we at Zenkyoren will continue working to earn the trust of our members and customers by offering services that meet their diverse needs. In addition, we will ensure strict legal compliance and maintain high ethical standards in the conduct of our business, enabling us to provide services with an optimum level of safety and customer satisfaction.Measures Taken and Business DevelopmentsBusiness PerformanceAmid an extremely severe business environment, we continued to carry out personal visits to all members and policyholders, as set down in our current three-year business plan. We also strengthened our marketing for achieving targets for each type of insurance products. Consequently, we recorded good results in sales of new-type Endowment Life Insurance policies. Thanks to this, total sales of Life Insurance policies nationwide reached our target. In Automobile Insurance, in spite of a steep declining trend in the number of new vehicles sold, we recorded a steady trend in policyholders switching to the new Family Automobile Insurance policy that we launched in October 2008. As a result, total sales of Automobile Insurance policies achieved the same level as for the previous term.Claims paid, including both payments at maturity and upon occurrence of an accident, came to ¥4,118.7 billion, providing financial resources for members and customers. These resources enabled them both to provide for their living security and to engage in reconstruction following natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.In fiscal 2009, the final year of our current three-year business plan, we will be taking further steps to ensure regular personal visits to all members and policyholders. This is in line with our slogan of “Strengthening Ties and Finding Partners: Actions to Win Support for Zenkyoren”. We intend to address the needs of all JA Cooperatives members and customers through the provision of enhanced financial security.Development of New Insurance ProductsWe took further measures during the reporting period to provide JA Cooperatives members and customers with comprehensive life security.In April 2008 we launched a new type of Endowment Life Insurance policy, involving single premium payment in return for coverage for a fixed term, to meet our policyholders’ need for wealth-building. We also started a new type of Medical Insurance plan for middle-aged and elderly policyholders that allows them to simplify health-check procedures for application to the policy. In October 2008 we launched a new Further Cementing the Relationship of Trust under JA Cooperative Insurance between Zenkyoren and its Members and Customers