Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited (“Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance”), headquartered in Japan, was formed in October 2001 through a merger between the former Mitsui Marine & Fire Insurance Company, Limited (“Mitsui Marine”) and The Sumitomo Marine & Fire Insurance Company, Limited (“Sumitomo Marine”). Mitsui Marine and Sumitomo Marine were leading non-life insurance companies boasting long histories, having been established in 1918 and 1893, respectively.
MS&AD Insurance Group, Inc. (“MS&AD Insurance Group”) was formed in April 2010 from the business integration of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group Holdings, Inc., Aioi Insurance Co., Ltd., and Nissay Dowa General Insurance Co., Ltd. It is amongst the world’s top 10 non-life insurance groups based on gross revenue, with A+ Stable credit rating and presence in 50 countries and regions globally. MS&AD Insurance Group is committed to achieving sustainable growth and to enhancing enterprise value, driven by five business domains: domestic (Japanese) non-life insurance, domestic (Japanese) life insurance, overseas business, financial services business and risk-related business.
"Echigo-ya" Drapery Store in the Edo Era.
Echigoya - The name "Echigoya" was publicised by means of "flyers" and branded loan umbrellas. ©公益財団法人三井文庫
The Mitsui conglomerate began as a shop dealing in kimono fabrics called “Echigoya”. It was opened in 1673 by Takatoshi Mitsui, a merchant in Edo (now Tokyo).
With the aim of accommodating its customers’ needs, Echigoya introduced many innovative business practices. These included adopting over-the-counter-sales and the cash-and-carry system which were unheard of in Japan at the time. Furthermore, Mitsui used flyers and umbrellas printed with the shop's name to publicise his business.
Mitsui also focused on customer-centric business management and brand strategy, and sought to boost employee motivation and satisfaction through personality-oriented performance evaluations. These pioneering approaches laid the foundation for Mitsui’s subsequent success and prosperity.
Sumitomo prospered through diversification beyond copper into such commodities as yarns, fabrics, sugar and medicine.
A shaft at the Besshi copper mine
The history of Sumitomo began in the 17th century when Masatomo Sumitomo opened a book and medicine shop in Kyoto. Sumitomo gradually diversified into copper mining and trading, banking and heavy industry.
In 1690, Sumitomo discovered the Besshi Copper Mine in Ehime Prefecture which turned out to be one of the largest copper mines in the world. This major discovery contributed significantly to Japan’s economic development. However, the mining operations also impacted the environment. To help reduce this, Sumitomo planted more than one million trees and even relocated the copper refinery to an uninhabited island.
Sumitomo’s approach of contributing to the development of national and regional economies while also addressing environmental issues sowed the seeds for our corporate social responsibility initiatives of today.