The head of one of Japan’s biggest and most conservative insurance groups is looking to roll out nursing and preventive healthcare services in ageing societies around the world in a bid to become a global giant.
Kengo Sakurada, chief executive of Sompo Holdings, told the Financial Times that the group’s pivot away from its traditional business of accidents and disasters would be shaped around the expression “Vuca”. The term was coined by the US military to refer to volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
“There is plenty of room for us to change ourselves and transform ourselves into something new,” Sakurada said. “Because if we continue to be just a traditional insurance player, I don’t think we can be number one in the world.”
Sakurada added that he would also consider overseas deals in a quest to capture more customers. Sompo has allocated ¥600bn ($5.4bn) for “growth investments” over the next three years.
In 2016, Sompo bought Bermuda-based rival Endurance for $6.3bn, a deal that transformed its portfolio and became a template for the company’s technique of rapidly rebranding and integrating its acquisitions. That has historically not been a strength of Japanese groups when it comes to overseas mergers and acquisitions. Through M&A, the group wants to double the ratio of revenue it generates outside of Japan to more than 30 per cent by the fiscal year ending in March 2024.
“We have to be gigantic to survive in this insurance business world. Our size, already one-third of [Japanese] market share, is not enough at all,” Sakurada said.
Sompo last year invested $500m in US data analytics group Palantir, co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. The two have formed a joint venture as the insurer aims to leverage Palantir’s technology to transform Japan’s fast-growing but lossmaking $90bn nursing care industry.
Sompo entered that industry in late 2015 through a spate of domestic acquisitions that have made the group the country’s second-largest provider of nursing care services.
With Palantir, it is using troves of data collected in nursing homes to improve the productivity of care workers and analyse the wellbeing of patients.
At some point in future, Sompo envisions creating an insurance package that can predict the progression of dementia and allow patients to plan how long they can keep driving for without getting into an accident.
Long-term, the company hopes to build a $5bn business using various data platforms including the one it is working on for the nursing care industry.
According to Sakurada, Japan’s rapidly ageing society provides both a challenge and an opportunity to create businesses that can eventually be taken to China and other countries facing similar social issues.
“If we’re successful in Japan, that model and knowhow can be exported to developed countries and also developing countries,” he said.
Usain Bolt Offers Sha’Carri Richardson Some Tough Advice Following Multiple Meet Losses
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is offering some words of wisdom to rising track star Sha’Carri Richardson following the young athlete’s fall from grace.
During a recent interview with the New York Post, the eight-time Olympic gold medalist was asked about the 21-year-old whose stellar performance in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at the new Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, last June was quickly overshadowed by a series of incidents, including a failed drug test, which subsequently got her disqualified from the Tokyo games entirely.
Bolt told the media outlet that the best thing the Texas native can do now is stop talking and focus on what really matters. “I would tell Sha’Carri to train harder and to be focused and not say too much…,” he explained. A much speculated lack of media experience ultimately led to a dim in her once fiery fan support. Many have expressed belief that the young star’s trash talk proved damaging to her brand.
“If you talk that big talk you have to back it up,” Bolt continued. The Jamaican-born sprinting phenom added, “So just train hard and focus on that and try to come back, do it and then talk about it.”
On Aug. 21, Richardson finished in last place in the women’s 100 meters as Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah dominated the race. Shortly afterward, an online feud seemingly unraveled between Richardson and Team Jamaican.
Bolt told the outlet he and his fellow Jamaican athletes were not impressed by Richardson’s attitude, considering a rivalry between American and Jamaican sprinters that picked up some steam dating back to at least 2012.
“Jamaicans were vexed because she was talking a lot of s–t before the actual race, it is just one of those things,” he explained. “Jamaicans don’t like when people talk s–t about us because we are a very proud people. So if you talk about us we are gonna want you to back it up. It definitely gave those women the extra push [to win.]”
Richardson has had a few incidents with members of the Caribbean nation. She was offered an all-expenses-paid trip to Jamaica by a Jamaican hotel owner, following her loss to Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished second in the Prefontaine race. Many people online found the gesture to be disingenuous.
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