Hitomi Imada

Hitomi Imada

Sony Assurance Inc.
Claims Service Division
Group Leader

I want to be there for our customers in unexpected times as someone they can rely on.

Days Spent Earnestly Engaging with Customers

After graduating from university, I worked at an agency-type insurance company but later resigned and briefly left the insurance industry. During that time, I had the desire to work in insurance again, and it was then that I knew about Sony Assurance Inc. (Sony Assurance), which offers direct insurance services. While many companies now sell direct insurance, Sony Assurance was among the first to adopt this business model. I was drawn to being able to connect with customers on a more personal level, which led me to switch careers and join the company. This year marks my 17th year with the company. Currently, I am in charge of handling automobile insurance accidents in the Claims Service Division. In my role, I am committed to providing dedicated support and sincere assistance to customers involved in accidents to alleviate their anxiety as much as possible during settlement negotiations and other insurance claim payment operations.

First and foremost, listening attentively to and sincerely engaging with our customers is important.

Thoughtful Consideration and Honesty Lead to Trust

We refer to those with a contract with Sony Assurance and all parties involved in accidents, including counterparts, as "customers." It is not easy to communicate smoothly with customers in various situation, and sometimes have complex emotions. However, each case provides a learning opportunity and valuable experience. I realize the importance of gaining diverse perspectives and thoughts through interacting with many customers.

A traffic accident is an unexpected event. We provide a service where a dedicated representative will call within one hour after receiving an accident report. We take the utmost care when calling our clients, as they could still be dealing with the accident at the scene and may naturally be upset. We consider all information, such as the sounds we hear in the background, to imagine the current situation and assess whether or not we can continue our conversation. After a brief greeting and self-introduction, we always ask if the customer is injured. During this brief conversation, we handle the situation carefully, paying close attention to their tone of voice. The customer's initial response is essential to understanding their emotional state.

Our relationships with customers can last anywhere from one to two weeks to several years. In any situation, it is crucial to listen carefully to the end of the customer's story and respond appropriately with accurate information when it is impossible to give an immediate answer. It is of utmost importance to approach interactions with sincerity and genuine care. I have witnessed many moments when problems have been resolved, and the words "I feel relieved" or "Thank you" from customers are the greatest source of motivation. Sometimes, unexpected words such as "I will miss hearing your voice" or "I will miss the joy of having conversations" are expressed, and in those moments, I reflect on the days shared with customers through both joys and hardships and realize that I am happy to have been of service.

The Voices of our Customers Shape the Standard of Sony Assurance

When I first joined Sony Assurance, direct insurance was primarily through online sales, was not yet widespread, and some customers were skeptical about this type of insurance. However, now we receive responses such as "I didn't expect to feel supported to this extent," "I'm glad I chose Sony Assurance," "I will continue to be a customer," and "I will recommend you to others." This positive feedback is because we always put our customers first. Under the slogan "'Feel the Difference' - This Distinction will Transform Insurance," we strive to gather customer feedback throughout the organization to create new customer experiences.

We currently have various tools to facilitate smooth communication with our staff, including phone calls, emails, web chats, and SMS. I used to prefer phone calls, but I now utilize different tools based on each client's preference. Direct dialogue with clients allows us to understand their opinions and requests quickly, and our strength and value as a company lie in providing flexible proposals tailored to complex situations.

Engaging in direct communication requires being part of a professional group with a high level of knowledge and sufficient experience, demanding continuous self-improvement. Within our company, even newcomers can learn effectively through a combination of classroom training and on-the-job training supported by tutors and experienced colleagues. Furthermore, at Sony Assurance, there is a culture of open-mindedness where individuals are encouraged to express their opinions, regardless of age or rank. This openness creates an environment where we can challenge ourselves in various aspects.

Reflecting on the Past 17 Years

The foundation of my 17-year career at Sony Assurance has been the many messages of gratitude I have received from our customers. Furthermore, I have consistently asked myself what more I can do to provide better service and how I can become a more reliable presence that brings greater peace of mind. This constant reflection and action have greatly contributed to my personal growth. I have been working hard since my twenties, and this experience has helped me be more precise and effective. I have also found a good work-life balance and have recently been able to delve deeper into areas of personal interest during my leisure time.
Currently based in Hiroshima(Japan), I am responsible for customers in the Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu regions. The insights I have gained about each region's characteristics have become a valuable asset in my work within the Claims Service Division. What I have gained from interacting with irreplaceable customers is the foundation for providing better services to future customers. I aim to continue to offer valuable services that make a difference.