Japan's insurance companies are planning to up the price that older drivers have to pay for their car insurance effective from April 2011. Drivers 70 and over will be paying 8% more for their insurance premiums.
The reason is, according to Sompo Japan the insurance company that plans to be first with this rate increase, older drivers have more accidents. Other insurers are sure to follow this practice as they say their profitability in the auto insurance line of business has decreased due to this aging of the Japanese society. As Japan ages, with nearly 25% of the population in the 65+ bracket, insurance companies are looking for ways to increase profitability.
It isn't only the insurance companies that are concerned with the increase in the number of accidents by these older drivers. The National Police Agency launched a cognitive test, which was formulated with the help of dementia experts, and is a requirement for anyone 75 and over when they renew their license. In the first year of this test (2009 - 2010) over 760,000 people were examined and it was determined that 39 of them have dementia. More than 14,000 were found to be suffering from declining memory (hey, no wonder we can't find our keys!) and judgment (we can beat that train!) and another 25% have memories that are "somewhat" declining.
Not only is Japan's population decreasing After this year's Coming of Age ceremonies, held on Jan. 10, which is for anyone turning 20 it was announced that only 0.6% of Japan's population is now 20 years old. With fewer & fewer young people, and the gray hairs taking over, it looks like the police are going to be busier than ever giving these cognitive tests, as long as those aging policemen can remember where they put the pencils!