News is out that Rakuten (Tokyo Stock Exchange ticker: 4755) -- Japan's leading e-commerce portal -- has found a partner to go forward with its plans to sell non-life insurance products on-line at its web portal. Rakuten is in the final stage of discussions with American Insurance Group (abbr. and ticker: AIG). The two firms will form a joint capital merger with Rakuten being the majority equity owner.
The new non-life insurance firm will try and attract consumers by offering such products specialized low-price short-term insurance products. AIG will be responsible for development and management of the insurance related products and business. Rakuten will utilize its popular web site in order to advertise and sell insurance. At first only accident insurance will be offered with an expanded base of products to be rolled-out gradually.
AIG has experienced great success in Japan offering mail-telephone-web-order insurance. Rakuten’s site has approximately 34-million registered members.