The First Life Insurance Instant Approval System in Japan

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27 May 2016

Launching the Industry’s First Instant Approval System

Enabling Real Time Underwriting and Immediate Decisions


Press release issued on 16 March 2016 by Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd who implemented the ALLFINANZ underwriting rules engine and Munich Re Japan risk assessment rules to power their Instant Approval System.
Japanese version available here (PDF, 302 KB)


On 16 March 2016 Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd., (President: Tomoo Hagimoto) implemented the "Instant Approval System" to deliver real-time underwriting and instant decisions for new life insurance applications.


In 2012 and 2013, under the Co-Creation project*, Sony Life upgraded its sales support system and implemented a paperless insurance application process using tablet terminals to streamline their sales processes and provide far greater convenience to its customers.

This time, Sony Life is implementing the "Instant Approval System" to further utilize and improve these features. The new system delivers real time underwriting and instant decision in the customer's presence, including applicants with substandard conditions; which is a first in the industry. The customer is instantly notified at the time of application if the policy has been accepted. This removes the administrative process which previously took an average of 7.5 days from the time of application to acceptance and provides instant peace of mind for its customers. 

Sony Life will continue to strive to offer services exceeding customers' expectations under its commitment: "Give lifetime protection to our customers throughout Japan".

*The Co-Creation Project is one of the initiatives to realize the Sony Life corporate slogan "Life Planner Value". Its objective is to significantly improve customer services starting with life planning and follow-up consulting services, as well as to drastically streamline sales activities and administration.

Illustration of the New Business Instant Approval System

Click on the image to view a larger version

Changes to the new business process

Previously, the handling of a new application took on average 7.5 days. Before being accepted, an application had to go through a lengthy administrative procedure that was taking place at the Head Office. For substandard cases, it took an average of 8 days to process the application followed by another 8 days to obtain the customer's agreement to the special conditions. In total, the procedure could take up to 16 days from the time of application to acceptance.

The new Instant Approval System uses a rules engine to automate the administrative process and deliver an underwriting result for both standard and substandard cases. This way, the system enables instant approval and acceptance of the application in front of the customer, even if the policy includes substandard conditions.

Traditionally, substandard policies came into force after the customer had reviewed and agreed with the special conditions attached to the contract. With the new procedure, the whole process - risk assessment, review of special conditions and acceptance -  can be performed in the customer's presence and the contract comes into force immediately. 

Sony Life will be able to deliver an automated medical underwriting result to about 70% of the applicants using the declaration process (including for substandard cases) and they will be able to immediately notify about 60% of these customers that their application has been accepted.

Evolution of C-SAAF

In 2013, C-SAAF* (the 2nd phase of the Co-Creation Project) introduced a paperless declaration process using an automated underwriting engine. After developing and testing the underwriting rules for a few years, the Instant Approval System was implemented.

*C-SAAF is an acronym for Consulting-Sales and Follow-up Support system which includes a Sales Support System, a Paperless Application Process, a Declaration Procedure using an automated underwriting engine, a Smart Phone Photo feature and a Customer Household Management System - which are underpinned by Sony Life’s pioneering LiPSS simulation system for life planning.

Making the results of medical underwriting available in real time

  • When predetermined requirements are met during the paperless declaration process, the underwriting results are presented immediately to the applicant.
  • When substandard conditions have been disclosed, clear descriptions of the special conditions are provided on a contract summary document.
  • Even after the results of medical underwriting are provided, it is possible to change the insurance product as long as the application procedure is still in progress. Depending on the changes, special conditions may be provided again.

Issuing contract in real time

  • Even when substandard conditions are identified, the applicant can still complete a paperless application.
  • When predetermined requirements are met under a paperless application, acceptance of the policy is displayed instantly on the screen. *Furthermore, the content of the insurance contract can be checked on the web site at the time of acceptance.

Illustration of acceptance notification

In order to implement this system, Sony Life had support from Capital Asset Planning, Inc. (Headquartered in Kita Ward, Osaka City; President and CEO: Masakazu Kitayama) as the main vendor. The automated underwriting engine provided by Munich Re Automation Solutions Limited (Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland; CEO: Ross Mayne) and the assessment rules provided by Munich Re Japan Life Branch (Located in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo; Representative for Japan: Patrick Sallin) are utilized for the automated acceptance underwriting engine used for the declaration process.

More information

Read the Phase 1 case study of Sony Life's Automated Underwriting project
Japanese version (PDF, 1.1 MB) | English version (PDF, 447 KB)

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