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Insuretech Connect Asia 2024

29 Mar 2023

Fostering a Culture of Innovation in the Insurance Industry: Insights from Dai-ichi Life Holdings' Innovation Strategy, Takehiko Eguchi

Vivienne Khoo

Innovation is essential for any organization to remain competitive and relevant in today's ever-evolving business landscape. Dai-ichi Life Holdings, one of Japan's leading life insurance companies, understands this well and has been actively working towards fostering innovation within its organization. 

I had the opportunity to speak with Takehiko Eguchi, Executive Officer and General Manager of Dai-ichi Life Holdings’ innovation strategy team, who shared how he came into his role at Dai-ichi Life Holdings. Eguchi san engaged in investment development at Yamaichi Securities prior to founding an Internet startup in 1995. He had experienced startup investment at a venture investment firm of Softbank, followed by partaking in business development at enterprises such as Hitachi Zosen, Konica Minolta, and SOMPO, before joining Dai-ichi Life Holdings in 2021. 

He uncovers the current state of innovation in life insurance. What are the biggest challenges to innovation, where are we currently headed, and what are some of the initiatives the team has taken to foster innovation within the organization. 

Learn more on how Dai-ichi Life Holdings is working towards staying ahead of the curve through innovation. 


1. Having a diverse background in investment, startup and business development, could you share with us how you came to join the innovation strategy team at Dai-ichi Life Holdings? 

It was in 2021, while I was working at SOMPO Holdings, that I was approached by the then Vice Chairman and Representative Director of Dai-ichi Life Holdings. As a member of a new business development team, I had been dedicated to launching new businesses and services throughout my career. Upon reflection, I concluded that fostering innovation through the transformation of employees into innovative human resources would be a more expedient approach for a large organization. This idea was supported by the company, and that is the reason why I joined Dai-ichi Life Holdings. 



2. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges to innovation? 

The biggest challenges to innovation are people's attachment to the status quo and their resistance to change. If they are open to new technologies, ways of thinking, and methods, they will be more likely to embrace innovation. The tricky part is overcoming their reluctance to change, but that is easier said than done. Ultimately, it comes down to how much people are willing to take risks and disrupt the status quo. 



3. How is Dai-ichi Life Holdings working towards fostering innovation and what are some of the initiatives the team has done? 

We hold pitch days twice a year and provide funds to validate new ideas from our group companies. Throughout these initiatives, we have come to understand that many employees have a latent desire to create something new. By providing funds and an environment in which these activities can be carried out as part of their work, we are not only fulfilling their aspirations but also accelerating innovation within the group. Furthermore, we facilitate the development of communities among the participants to refine their abilities, thereby cultivating a culture of innovation within our group. 



4. Where do you see the insurance industry in five years and is there something that particularly that excites you? 

In the field of life insurance, I expect to see life insurance steadily growing as an industry that contributes to the enrichment of life, by offering a range of services beyond traditional life insurance that encompass asset formation, health promotion and wellbeing. 


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