COLUMBUS, Ga., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac Incorporated today announced that its operations in Japan are up and running and ready to assist policyholders following the recent earthquake in the Tohoku area, which includes the cities of Sendai and Minami Sanriku. Aflac Japan's main offices, including the corporate offices in Tokyo and operational centers in both Tokyo and Osaka, are undamaged and fully functional.
Aflac Japan's employees are safe, and the company continues to reach out to their independent sales force to assess their needs. The Aflac leadership teams from both the U.S. and Japan remain in close contact.
While the hardest-hit areas were Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, less than 5% of Aflac Japan's new sales and in-force premiums are derived from these prefectures. Only two of Aflac Japan's 82 sales offices have been negatively impacted; these two offices, located in a single building in Sendai, have minimal damage, but will be closed temporarily due to power outages.
About this natural disaster, Aflac Japan President and Chief Operating Officer Tohru Tonoike commented: "First and foremost, our thoughts go out to all those affected here in Japan. We are very grateful none of our employees were injured. We are working with our sales force to ensure that we provide them with assistance and help them take care of our customers. We remain ready to respond to the needs of our policyholders by paying claims swiftly, and will prioritize our response to those in the affected areas. We successfully executed our disaster preparedness plan and as a result, our operations stand ready to serve our policyholders and claimants."
Aflac Incorporated Chairman and CEO Daniel P. Amos added: "In addition to sending our thoughts and prayers to each and every Japanese citizen, we want all of our Aflac Japan employees, sales agents and policyholders to know that your Aflac family here in the U.S. sends our support in every way possible. On Friday, we made an initial donation of 100 million yen to the International Red Cross to help with the start of the relief effort. Additionally, funds have been established by both our U.S. and Japanese employees and sales forces for our friends in Japan, including fellow employees and sales associates that have been most impacted by the disaster. Most importantly, we want our policyholders to know that we are here to deliver on our promise – we will be there when they need us most. Having operated in Japan for almost four decades, we know Japanese citizens are incredibly resilient and we want to help in any way possible as they work through this difficult time.
"As we look to the remainder of 2011, we expect Aflac Japan sales will only be minimally impacted by these events. Our earnings guidance for the year remains unchanged: we will likely be at the low end of the 8% to 12% range for operating earnings per diluted share growth in 2011, excluding the impact of currency."
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more than 55 years, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance. In Japan, Aflac is the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force. Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For four consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In addition, Forbes magazine has named Aflac as one of America's Best-Managed Companies in the Insurance category. In 2011, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the thirteenth consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the tenth time. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" to encourage companies to provide prospective information, so long as those informational statements are identified as forward-looking and are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. We desire to take advantage of these provisions. This document contains cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected herein, and in any other statements made by Company officials in communications with the financial community and contained in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Forward-looking statements are not based on historical information and relate to future operations, strategies, financial results or other developments. Furthermore, forward-looking information is subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties. In particular, statements containing words such as "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "goal," "objective," "may," "should," "estimate," "intends," "projects," "will," "assumes," "potential," "target" or similar words as well as specific projections of future results, generally qualify as forward-looking. Aflac undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. We caution readers that the following factors, in addition to other factors mentioned from time to time, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements: difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy; governmental actions for the purpose of stabilizing the financial markets; defaults and downgrades in certain securities in our investment portfolio; impairment of financial institutions; credit and other risks associated with Aflac's investment in perpetual securities; differing judgments applied to investment valuations; subjective determinations of amount of impairments taken on our investments; limited availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments; concentration of our investments in any particular sector; concentration of business in Japan; ongoing changes in our industry; exposure to significant financial and capital markets risk; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; significant changes in investment yield rates; deviations in actual experience from pricing and reserving assumptions; subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to Aflac Incorporated (the Parent Company); changes in law or regulation by governmental authorities; ability to attract and retain qualified sales associates and employees; decreases in our financial strength or debt ratings; ability to continue to develop and implement improvements in information technology systems; changes in U.S. and/or Japanese accounting standards; failure to comply with restrictions on patient privacy and information security; level and outcome of litigation; ability to effectively manage key executive succession; catastrophic events; and failure of internal controls or corporate governance policies and procedures.
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SOURCE Aflac Incorporated