Kyoichi Yamakata

Executive Lifeplanner
Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd
Sony Financial Group

Our job is to be a partner and contribute to the vibrant lives of our customers and their families. It is with this spirit that we approach our daily work.

My Encounter with the "Lifeplanner sales specialist " Profession

I joined Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (Sony Life) as a Lifeplanner sales specialist in 2009, and this year marks my 14th year. In my previous job, I was involved in sales and planning for a local professional baseball team, mainly responsible for planning and organizing the fan club. Managing the team's operations was interesting, but the market demand would change depending on its strength as a baseball team, not the ability of the staff. This led me to think that I would like to work in a job where I could make more use of my own personality and be useful to customers. I wanted to work in a position that would allow me to be deeply involved with customers, and to do a job that is full of human touch, where I could sometimes have casual conversations, touch their daily intricacies, and sometimes shed tears together. While considering a career change, I received a headhunting offer from a major insurance company and knew Sony Life when studying the industry. I met with a Lifeplanner sales specialist to hear about the company and was deeply impressed and empathized with his inspirational words about "changing the industry" and "making it commonplace for every family to have a Lifeplanner sales specialist." Convinced that their foundation was close to my dream, I decided career change to Sony Life. In 2022, I was promoted to Executive Lifeplanner, the highest qualification for Lifeplanner sales specialists, but my career path was not always smooth sailing. A big turning point came when I experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake in my hometown of Sendai. It was my second year with the company when I was feeling lost about how to proceed with my work.

Determined to Be There for the Life of Customers
as a Lifeplanner sales specialist

I had a customer who had lost a newborn child in the earthquake. Facing the helplessness of my inability to do anything in the face of a life that had been lost within a few months of its birth, I came to think seriously about what it means to "live" and wanted my customers to do the same. This was a turning point for me, giving me a strong sense of mission, motivation for growth, and confidence in my profession. This experience made me ready to be a part of custmors' lives as a Lifeplanner sales specialist, in other words, to truly understand what this job is.
Each customer's life has various factors that present various risks to live. We, Lifeplanner sales specialists, must communicate the importance of "living" seriously, even in an unlikely emergency. Rather than simply selling insurance products to our customers, we strive to provide thorough consulting and meticulous life planning that supports our customers in all aspects of their lives, including life and death. That is what I am proud of in my job.

Corporate Culture of Inspiring Each Other with Mutual Improvement

As a director of MDRT*(Million Dollar Round Table) Sony, I am involved in various initiatives to help members improve themselves and each other as Lifeplanner sales specialists. A Lifeplanner sales specialist is a profession in which entrepreneurial skills can be demonstrated, and the individual's ability plays a significant role, so there are often obstacles when relying solely on one's own experiences. Therefore, Sony Life's corporate culture of "Inspiring each other " is essential for growth. "Inspiring each other " refers to the sharing and learning of knowledge and experience what we have. The MDRT and the Japan Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors have provided me with opportunities for personal growth. It is not just learning and teaching each other without boundaries between companies. The maturity of such learning and teaching environments is essential as a foundation for elevating individual abilities, and we receive a lot of support from the company.

  • *A global independent organization of life insurance and financial services professionals worldwide. Established in the U.S. in 1927, with 500 companies and 70 countries. Sony Life takes pride in having one of the largest memberships and is dedicated to mutual improvement in life insurance and financial services.
The MDRT Sony Association Seminar

"LIFEPLANNER VALUE" – Thoroughly Grounded in Practicality

Since its founding, Sony Life has had a venture spirit and open-minded culture that encourages employees to take on new challenges. Sony Life was born from the founder's desire to "change the life insurance industry" and has developed a corporate culture that differs significantly from other life insurance companies. One of the unique differences is the company's thorough bottom-up approach, expressed in the concept of "LIFEPLANNER VALUE." Sony Life believes the value lies in the insurance products and the Lifeplanner sales specialist. As such, the company reflects the opinions of its Lifeplanner sales specialists in various initiatives. There is a term in the field called "Final Three Feet." It is the idea that "something important happens when customers and the Lifeplanner sales specialist discuss things within one meter of each other." Lifeplanner sales specialists always act with the sole focus on customers' needs. Our corporate culture allows us, as Lifeplanner sales specialists, to work with peace of mind and to focus solely on contributing to our customers. As a life insurance company affiliated with Sony Financial Group Inc., we can leverage group synergies in various initiatives, another one of our great strengths.

My dream is to continue to work as a Lifeplanner sales specialist and meet with customers even at the age of 70.

As a Lifeplanner sales specialist at Sony Life

As technology advances and AI is more fully adopted, some of Lifeplanner sales specialists' work may decrease. However, listening to customers' concerns, understanding their needs, and providing support and comfort is a job that only humans can do and will continue to be important in the future. When I leave customer's home after a meeting, I sometimes feel a sense of fulfillment similar to a refreshed feeling. It is not an easy job, and I don't always receive compliments, but moments, when I can empathize with our customers' smiles, tears, and emotions, are most rewarding for me as a Lifeplanner sales specialist. I want to continue to grow so that I can continue to contribute to our customers.