SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-07434
|(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)|
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
|1932 Wynnton Road||Columbus||Georgia||31999|
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(ZIP Code)|
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: 706.323.3431
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbols(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $.10 Par Value||AFL||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. þ Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ¨ Yes þ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. þ Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (Section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). þ Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer ||☑||Accelerated filer ||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer ||☐||Smaller reporting company ||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). ☐ Yes ☑ No
The aggregate market value of the voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020, was $25,577,863,783.
The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding at February 17, 2021, with $.10 par value, was 688,587,083.
Documents Incorporated By Reference
Certain information contained in the Notice and Proxy Statement for the Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders is incorporated by reference into Part III hereof.
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
Table of Contents
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor to encourage companies to provide prospective information, so long as those informational statements are identified as forward-looking and are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. Aflac Incorporated and its subsidiaries (the Company) desire to take advantage of these provisions. This report contains cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected herein, and in any other statements made by Company officials in communications with the financial community and contained in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Forward-looking statements are not based on historical information and relate to future operations, strategies, financial results or other developments. Furthermore, forward-looking information is subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties. In particular, statements containing words such as the ones listed below or similar words, as well as specific projections of future results, generally qualify as forward-looking. The Company undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements.
|• expect||• anticipate||• believe||• goal||• objective|
|• may||• should||• estimate||• intends||• projects|
|• will||• assumes||• potential||• target||• outlook|
The Company cautions readers that the following factors, in addition to other factors mentioned from time to time, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements:
•difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy, including those caused by COVID-19
•defaults and credit downgrades of investments
•exposure to significant interest rate risk
•concentration of business in Japan
•limited availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments
•foreign currency fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate
•differing judgments applied to investment valuations
•significant valuation judgments in determination of expected credit losses recorded on the Company's investments
•decreases in the Company's financial strength or debt ratings
•decline in creditworthiness of other financial institutions
•the effects of COVID-19, and any resulting economic effects and government interventions, on the Company's business and financial results
•ability to attract and retain qualified sales associates, brokers, employees, and distribution partners
•deviations in actual experience from pricing and reserving assumptions
•ability to continue to develop and implement improvements in information technology systems
•interruption in telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems, or a failure to maintain the security, confidentiality or privacy of sensitive data residing on such systems
•subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to the Parent Company
•inherent limitations to risk management policies and procedures
•concentration of the Company's investments in any particular single-issuer or sector
•events related to the Japan Post investigation and other matters
•tax rates applicable to the Company may change
•failure to comply with restrictions on policyholder privacy and information security
•extensive regulation and changes in law or regulation by governmental authorities
•competitive environment and ability to anticipate and respond to market trends
•catastrophic events including, but not necessarily limited to, epidemics, pandemics (such as the coronavirus COVID-19), tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, war or other military action, terrorism or other acts of violence, and damage incidental to such events
•ability to protect the Aflac brand and the Company's reputation
•ability to effectively manage key executive succession
•changes in accounting standards
•level and outcome of litigation
•allegations or determinations of worker misclassification in the United States
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Aflac Incorporated (the Parent Company) was incorporated in 1973 under the laws of the state of Georgia. The Parent Company and its subsidiaries (collectively, the Company) provide financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. The Company’s principal business is supplemental health and life insurance products with the goal to provide customers the best value in supplemental insurance products in the United States (U.S.) and Japan. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, the Company pays cash benefits fairly and promptly for eligible claims. Throughout its 65 year history, the Company’s supplemental insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. Given the acquisitions completed by Aflac U.S. in 2019 and 2020, the Company is expanding its U.S. product offerings to network dental and vision and employer paid group life and disability.
The Company has continued to evolve and innovate throughout its 65 year history. In recent years, the Company has been investing in new distribution opportunities through acquisitions and partnerships. During 2020, in response to the onset and development of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Company pivoted to digital sales methods and accelerated related digital investments. For information on the Company’s response to COVID-19, see the Executive Summary section of Item 7. Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A).
The Company is authorized to conduct insurance business in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, several U.S. territories and Japan. The Company’s website is: www.aflac.com. Information included on the Company’s website is not incorporated by reference into this filing. The Company makes available free of charge through its website, its annual report on Form 10-K, its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Company's strategy for growth in the U.S. and Japan has remained straightforward and consistent for many years. The Company develops relevant supplemental insurance products and sells them through expanded distribution channels. To help promote its insurance products, the Company’s marketing campaigns feature the Aflac Duck.
LONG-TERM GROWTH STRATEGY
In 1999, the Company had been running commercials for nearly a decade, but its brand awareness was hovering at about 10%. An innovative marketing campaign with something unique and memorable that would build brand awareness was needed. The Aflac Duck’s first commercial in the U.S., “Park Bench,” aired on January 1, 2000 and taught consumers how to pronounce “Aflac.” The Aflac Duck made his international debut in Japan in 2003. In the two decades since his U.S. debut, the Aflac Duck has become one of the most familiar advertising icons in the world, appearing in several
commercials and countless print ads in both the U.S. and Japan. Today, the Aflac Duck is a helpmate who increases brand knowledge and connection.
The Company's insurance business consists of two reporting segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. The primary insurance subsidiary in the Aflac Japan segment is Aflac Life Insurance Japan Ltd. Aflac U.S includes the insurance subsidiaries American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac); Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), branded as Aflac Group Insurance (AGI); American Family Life Assurance Company of New York (Aflac New York); and Tier One Insurance Company (TOIC); as well as Argus Dental & Vision, Inc. (Argus), which is licensed as a third party administrator in most U.S. jurisdictions and as a pre-paid limited health service organization in Florida.
In November 2020, the Company, through its insurance subsidiaries Aflac and Aflac New York, acquired Zurich North America’s U.S. Corporate Life and Pensions business, which consists of group life, disability and absence management products. Aflac and Aflac New York agreed to reinsure on an indemnity basis Zurich North America’s U.S. in-force group life and disability policies with annualized earned premium of over $100 million. Aflac also acquired assets needed to support the group life and disability business, along with an absence management platform.
In November 2019, the Company acquired Argus Holdings, LLC and its subsidiary Argus Dental & Vision, Inc. (Argus), a benefits management organization and national network dental and vision company, which provides a platform for Aflac Dental and Vision. Argus is an addition to the Aflac U.S. segment.
Aflac Japan is the principal contributor to the Parent Company’s consolidated earnings. Aflac Japan's revenues, including realized gains and losses on its investment portfolio, accounted for 68% of the Company's total revenues in 2020, compared with 69% in 2019 and 70% in 2018. The percentage of the Company's total assets attributable to Aflac Japan was 83% at both December 31, 2020 and 2019.
For information on the Company's results of operations and financial information by segment, see Item 7. MD&A and Note 2 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.
Aflac Japan is the largest insurer in Japan in terms of cancer and medical (third sector insurance products) policies in force. As of December 31, 2020, Aflac Japan exceeded 24 million individual policies in force in Japan. Aflac Japan continued to be the number one seller of cancer insurance policies in Japan throughout 2020, with more than 15 million cancer policies in force as of December 31, 2020.
Aflac Japan's third sector insurance products are designed to help consumers pay for medical and nonmedical costs that are not reimbursed under Japan's national health insurance system. Changes in Japan's economy and an aging population have put increasing pressure on Japan's national health care system. As a result, more costs have been shifted to Japanese consumers, who in turn have become increasingly interested in insurance products that help them manage those costs. Aflac Japan has responded to this consumer need by enhancing existing products and developing new products. The focus at Aflac Japan remains on maintaining leadership in third sector insurance products that are less interest rate sensitive and have strong and stable margins. At the same time, Aflac Japan complements this core business with similarly profitable first sector protection products as outlined below.
|THIRD SECTOR INSURANCE||FIRST SECTOR INSURANCE|
|Life insurance products include:|
|Protection type:||Savings type:|
Cancer Insurance Aflac Japan pioneered the cancer insurance market in Japan in 1974, and remains the number one provider of cancer insurance in Japan today. Aflac Japan's cancer insurance products provide a lump-sum benefit upon initial diagnosis of cancer and fixed daily benefits for subsequent hospitalization and outpatient treatments due to cancer, as well as cancer-related surgical and convalescent care benefits.
Medical Insurance Aflac Japan's medical insurance products provide benefits for hospitalization, surgeries and outpatient treatment of various illnesses, as well as lump sum benefits related to three critical illnesses: cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
Income Support Insurance Aflac Japan's Income Support Insurance provides fixed-benefit amounts in the event that a policyholder is unable to work due to significant illness or injury and was developed to supplement the disability coverage within Japan’s social security system.
Whole Life Aflac Japan launched Prepare Smart Whole-Life Insurance in 2018, a whole life insurance product with low cash surrender value, which offers non-smoking policyholders further discounted premiums, and it provides beneficiaries, typically a designated family member, with a pre-determined benefit payment upon the death of the insured.
GIFT GIFT is a term life insurance product that provides a designated family member with a fixed amount of money every month upon a breadwinner’s death or serious disability as family support.
WAYS and Child Endowment WAYS is an insurance product which has features that allow policyholders to convert a portion of their life insurance to medical, nursing care or fixed annuity benefits at a predetermined age. Aflac Japan's child endowment insurance product offers a death benefit until a child reaches age 18. This product also pays a lump-sum at the time of the child's entry into high school, as well as an educational annuity for each of the four years during his or her college education. Beginning in 2013, Aflac Japan began to curtail sales of WAYS and Child Endowment, first sector savings-type products, due to persistent low interest rates in Japan and, in particular, the relatively large capital commitment required by such products and their lower profitability, in such an environment.
Traditional Sales Channel This distribution channel includes individual agencies, independent corporate agencies and affiliated corporate agencies. Aflac Japan was represented by more than 8,500 sales agencies at the end of 2020, with approximately 112,000 licensed sales associates employed by those agencies, including individual agencies.
Banks Consumers in Japan rely on banks to provide not only traditional bank services, but also as one key source to provide insurance solutions and other services. By the end of 2020, Aflac Japan had agreements with approximately 90% of the total number of banks in Japan to sell its products.
Dai-ichi Life Aflac Japan's alliance with Dai-ichi Life was launched in 2001, and approximately 40,000 Dai-ichi Life representatives offer Aflac's cancer products.
Japan Post Group Aflac Japan's alliance with Japan Post Group was launched in 2008. After the alliance strengthened in 2013, the number of postal outlets of Japan Post Co. Ltd. (JPC) selling Aflac Japan's cancer product increased to more than 20,000 since 2015. Japan Post Insurance Co., Ltd. (JPI) offers Aflac Japan cancer products through its 76 directly managed offices. In 2018, the Company entered a strategic alliance with Japan Post Holdings Co., Ltd. (Japan Post Holdings), the parent company of Japan Post Co. Ltd (JPC) and Japan Post Insurance Co., Ltd. (JPI). See the "Aflac Japan Segment" subsection of MD&A for more about this alliance.
Daido Life In 2013, Aflac Japan and Daido Life Insurance entered into an agreement for Daido to sell Aflac Japan's cancer insurance products specifically to the Hojinkai market, which is an association of small businesses. Currently, Daido also sells Aflac Japan's cancer insurance products to the market in the tax payment association, which is a not-for-profit association for small businesses to support tax related matters.
The Company competes with other insurance carriers through policyholder service, price, product design and sales efforts, as the number of insurance companies offering stand-alone cancer and medical insurance has more than doubled since the deregulation of the Japan market in 2001. However, based on Aflac Japan's size of annualized premiums in force and diversified distribution network, the Company does not believe that Aflac Japan's market-leading position has been significantly impacted by increased competition. Furthermore, the Company believes the continued development and maintenance of operating efficiencies will allow Aflac Japan to offer affordable products that appeal to consumers. The Company believes Aflac Japan will remain a leading provider of cancer and medical insurance coverage in Japan, principally due to its experience in the market, well-known brand, low-cost operations, expansive marketing system and product expertise.
Financial Services Agency (FSA) The financial and business affairs of Aflac Japan are subject to examination by Japan's FSA. Aflac Japan files annual reports and financial statements for the Japanese insurance operations based on a March 31 fiscal year end, prepared in accordance with Japanese regulatory accounting practices prescribed or permitted by the FSA. Japanese regulatory basis earnings are determined using accounting principles that differ materially from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP). Capital and surplus of Aflac Japan, based on Japanese regulatory accounting practices, was $9.0 billion at December 31, 2020, compared with $7.8 billion at December 31, 2019. Two FSA regulations applicable to Aflac Japan are outlined below.
▪Privacy and Cybersecurity
With regard to personal information obtained from policyholders, the insured, or others, Aflac Japan is regulated in Japan by the Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI) and guidelines issued by FSA and other governmental authorities. The FSA updated its guidelines regarding cybersecurity in October 2018.
•FSA Solvency Standard
The FSA maintains a solvency standard, the solvency margin ratio (SMR), which is used by Japanese regulators to monitor the financial strength of insurance companies. Aflac Japan's SMR is sensitive to interest rate, credit spread and foreign exchange rate changes. See the Liquidity and Capital Resources section of Item 7. MD&A for additional information on SMR, including a discussion of measures the Company has taken to mitigate the sensitivity of Aflac Japan's SMR.
Japan Companies Act After the conversion of Aflac Japan to a subsidiary structure on April 1, 2018 and starting in the fourth quarter of 2018, Aflac Japan distributes dividends to the Parent Company. Such dividends are subject to permitted dividend capacity under the Japanese Corporate Law.
Policyholder Protection The Japanese insurance industry has a policyholder protection corporation that provides funds for the policyholders of insolvent insurers. For additional information, see the policyholder protection section of the MD&A.
For additional information regarding Aflac Japan's operations and regulations, see the "Aflac Japan Segment" subsection of the MD&A and Notes 2 and 13 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.
The Company designs its U.S. insurance products to provide supplemental coverage for people who already have major medical or primary insurance coverage, as Aflac U.S. insurance policies pay benefits regardless of other insurance. Aflac U.S. products are distributed in the individual and group supplemental insurance markets. Aflac's individual policies are portable, meaning that individuals may retain their full insurance coverage upon separation from employment or affiliation with a group, generally at the same premium. Individual policies are typically guaranteed-renewable for the lifetime of the policyholder (to age 75 for short-term disability policies).
Cancer Insurance Aflac U.S.'s cancer insurance products provide a lump-sum benefit upon initial diagnosis of cancer and subsequent benefits for treatment received due to cancer. Aflac U.S. offers cancer insurance on an individual basis.
Accident Insurance Aflac U.S. offers accident coverage on both an individual and group basis. These policies pay cash benefits in the event of a covered injury. The accident portion of the policy includes lump-sum benefits for accidental death, dismemberment and specific injuries as well as fixed benefits for hospital confinement. Additional benefits are also available for home modifications, wellness and increased benefits for injuries related to participation in an organized sporting activity.
Disability Insurance Aflac U.S. offers short-term disability benefits on both an individual and group basis and long-term disability benefits on a group basis. The individual short-term disability product offers an Aflac Value Rider that pays a benefit, less claims, for every consecutive five-year term that the policy is in force.
Critical Illness Insurance Aflac U.S. offers coverage for critical illness plans on both an individual and group basis. These policies are designed to pay cash benefits in the event of critical illnesses such as heart attack, stroke or cancer.
Hospital Indemnity Insurance Aflac U.S. offers hospital indemnity coverage on both an individual and group basis. Hospital indemnity products provide policyholders fixed dollar benefits triggered by hospitalization due to accident or sickness. Indemnity benefits for inpatient and outpatient surgeries, as well as various other diagnostic events, are also available. Aflac U.S. also offers a lump sum rider for a range of critical illness events that can be added to its individual accident, short-term disability and hospital indemnity products.
Dental and Vision Insurance Aflac U.S. offers network dental and vision products on a group basis. Aflac U.S. offers fixed-benefit dental coverage on both an individual and group basis. Aflac U.S. offers Vision NowSM, an individually issued policy which provides benefits for serious eye health conditions and loss of sight as well as coverage for corrective eye materials and exam benefits.
Life Aflac U.S. offers term- and whole-life policies on both an individual and group basis.
In recent years, new annualized premium sales are generally higher in the fourth quarter for Aflac U.S. group business due to the timing of open enrollment for many employers. As a result, approximately half of total new annualized premium sales for Aflac U.S. are generated in the fourth quarter.
Independent Associates/Career Agents The career agent channel in Aflac U.S. focuses on marketing Aflac to the small business market, defined as employers of between three and 99 employees. Sales associates in the U.S. are independent contractors and are paid commissions and other variable compensation based on first-year and renewal premiums from their sales of insurance products.
Brokers The broker channel of Aflac U.S. focuses on selling to the mid- and large-case market, which is comprised of employers with 100 or more employees and typically an average size of 1,000 employees or more. Brokers in the U.S. are independent contractors and are paid commissions based on first-year and renewal premiums from their sales of insurance products.
Consumer Markets While Aflac U.S. primarily markets its insurance products at the worksite, Aflac U.S. is also expanding its distribution strategy to directly reach consumers outside of the traditional worksite through digital lead generation.
Aflac U.S. competes against several supplemental insurance carriers on a national and regional basis. Aflac U.S. believes its policies, premium rates, platforms, value-added services and sales commissions are competitive by product type. Moreover, Aflac U.S. believes that its products are distinct from competitive offerings given its product focus (including features, benefits and claims service model), distribution capabilities and brand awareness.
Since Aflac products provide an additional level of financial protection for policyholders, the Company believes the increased financial exposure some employees may face creates a favorable opportunity for Aflac U.S. products. However, given the profitability erosion some major medical carriers are facing in their core lines of business, the Company has seen a more competitive landscape as these carriers seek entry into Aflac's supplemental product segments and leverage their core benefit offerings by bundling and discounting products in order to gain market share.
Insurance Regulation The Parent Company and its U.S. insurance subsidiaries, Aflac, CAIC, TOIC (Nebraska-domiciled insurance companies), Aflac New York (a New York-domiciled insurance company) are subject to state regulations in the U.S. as an insurance holding company system and Argus, which is licensed as a third party
administrator in most U.S. jurisdictions and as a pre-paid limited health service organization in Florida. Such regulations generally provide that certain transactions between companies within the holding company system must be fair and equitable. In addition, transfers of assets among such affiliated companies, certain dividend payments from insurance subsidiaries and certain transactions between companies within the system, including management fees, loans and advances are subject to prior notice to, or approval by, state regulatory authorities. These laws generally require, among other things, the insurance holding company and each insurance company directly owned by the holding company to register with the insurance departments of their respective domiciliary states and to furnish annually financial and other information about the operations of companies within the holding company system.
Like all U.S. insurance companies, Aflac, CAIC, TOIC and Aflac New York are subject to regulation and supervision in the jurisdictions in which they do business. In general, the insurance laws of the various jurisdictions establish supervisory agencies with broad administrative powers relating to, among other things:
•granting and revoking licenses to transact business
•regulating trade and claims practices
•licensing of insurance agents and brokers
•approval of policy forms and premium rates
•standards of solvency and maintenance of specified policy benefit reserves and minimum loss ratio requirements
•limitations on dividends to shareholders
•the nature of and limitations on investments
•deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders
•filing of financial statements prepared in accordance with statutory insurance accounting practices prescribed or permitted by regulatory authorities
•periodic examinations of the market conduct, financial, and other affairs of insurance companies
The insurance laws of Nebraska that govern Aflac's activities provide that the acquisition or change of “control” of a domestic insurer or of any person that controls a domestic insurer cannot be consummated without the prior approval of the Nebraska Department of Insurance (NDOI). A person seeking to acquire control, directly or indirectly, of a domestic insurance company or of any person controlling a domestic insurance company (in the case of Aflac, CAIC and TOIC, the Parent Company) must generally file with the NDOI an application for change of control containing certain information required by statute and published regulations and provide a copy to Aflac. In Nebraska, control is generally presumed to exist if any person, directly or indirectly, acquires 10% or more of an insurance company or of any other person or entity controlling the insurance company. The 10% presumption is not conclusive and control may be found to exist at less than 10%. Similar laws apply in New York, the domiciliary jurisdiction of Aflac's New York insurance subsidiary.
State insurance departments conduct periodic examinations of the books and records, financial reporting, policy filings and market conduct of insurance companies domiciled in their states, generally once every three to five years. Examinations are generally carried out in cooperation with the insurance departments of other states under guidelines promulgated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In 2016, full-scope, risk-focused financial examinations were conducted by the NDOI, New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), and the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) on their state domiciled insurance entities Aflac, Aflac New York, and CAIC, respectively. There were no material findings contained in the final exam reports. CAIC redomiciled to Nebraska as of December 2016 and TOIC redomiciled to Nebraska effective March 11, 2019. The NDOI and NYSDFS are currently conducting full-scope comprehensive financial examinations covering years 2016-2019. The current examinations are expected to close by March 31, 2021.
NAIC Risk-Based Capital The NAIC continually reviews regulatory matters, such as risk-based capital (RBC) modernization, group capital calculations and liquidity risk assessment. The NAIC uses an RBC formula relating to insurance risk, business risk, asset risk and interest rate risk to facilitate identification by insurance regulators of inadequately capitalized insurance companies based upon the types and mix of risk inherent in the insurer's operations. The formulas for determining the amount of RBC specify various weighting factors that are applied to financial balances or various levels of activity based on the perceived degree of risk. Regulatory compliance is determined by a ratio of a company's regulatory total adjusted capital to its authorized control level RBC as defined by the NAIC. Companies below specific trigger points or ratios are classified within certain levels, each of which requires specified corrective action. The levels are company action, regulatory action, authorized control, and mandatory control. See Note 13 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements and the Liquidity and Capital Resources section of MD&A for additional information on RBC.
Guaranty Association and Similar Arrangements Under state insurance guaranty association laws and similar laws in international jurisdictions, the Company is subject to assessments, based on the share of business the Company writes in the relevant jurisdiction, for certain obligations of insolvent insurance companies to policyholders and claimants. In the U.S., some states permit member insurers to recover assessments paid through full or partial premium tax offsets. The Company's policy is to accrue assessments when the entity for which the insolvency relates has met its state of domicile's statutory definition of insolvency, the amount of the loss is reasonably estimable and the related premium upon which the assessment is based is written. In most states, the definition is met with a declaration of financial insolvency by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Federal Regulation Federal legislation and administrative policies in several areas, including health care reform legislation, financial services reform legislation, securities regulation, pension regulation, privacy, tort reform legislation and taxation, can significantly and adversely affect insurance companies. Certain federal regulations applicable to Aflac U.S. are outlined below.
•Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Heath Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively, the ACA), federal health care reform legislation, gave the U.S. federal government direct regulatory authority over the business of health insurance. The ACA, as enacted, does not require material changes in the design of the Company's insurance products. However, indirect consequences of, or changes to, the legislation and regulations could present challenges that could potentially have an impact on the Company's sales model, financial condition and results of operations. Certain provisions of the ACA have been and may continue to be subject to challenge through litigation, the ultimate effects of which on the ACA are uncertain. See the risk factor entitled, "Extensive regulation and changes in legislation can impact profitability and growth" for more information.
Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank) and regulations issued thereunder, in particular rules to require central clearing for certain types of derivatives, may have an impact on the Company's derivative activity, including activity on behalf of Aflac Japan.
The Dodd-Frank Act also established a Federal Insurance Office (FIO) under the U.S. Treasury Department to monitor all aspects of the insurance industry and of lines of business other than certain health insurance, certain long-term care insurance and crop insurance.
•Privacy and Cybersecurity
The collection, maintenance, use, protection, disclosure and disposal of individually identifiable data by the Company's businesses are regulated at the international, federal and state levels. These laws and rules are subject to change by legislation or administrative or judicial interpretation. Various state laws address the unauthorized access and acquisition of personal information and the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health data to the extent they are more restrictive than those contained in the privacy and security provisions in the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) and in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act became effective January 1, 2020 and requires businesses to provide California consumers the right to access, delete, and restrict certain uses of their personal information. HIPAA also requires that the Company imposes privacy and security requirements on its business associates (as such term is defined in the HIPAA regulations).
Cybersecurity also continues to be an area of evolving focus for U.S. legislation and regulatory activity. In March 2017, new cybersecurity regulation issued by the NYDFS went into effect that requires covered entities, including Aflac New York, to maintain an information security program meeting certain security, data disposal, audit, activity monitoring, and data encryption requirements. In October 2017, the NAIC adopted an Insurance Data Security Model Law that may be adopted in whole or in part by U.S. states in which the Company’s subsidiaries are licensed. Other states have adopted and, the Company expects, will continue to pass legislation and issue regulations related to cybersecurity.
The Company anticipates, assesses and if necessary modifies its information security program to accommodate changes and comply with regulatory regulations concerning privacy and cybersecurity.
For further information concerning Aflac U.S. operations, see the "Aflac U.S. Segment" subsection of the MD&A and Notes 2 and 13 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.
CORPORATE AND OTHER
The Company's other operations include the Parent Company, Aflac Global Ventures LLC and its subsidiaries, asset management subsidiaries, results of reinsurance retrocession activities and a printing subsidiary.
In October 2020, the Company entered into an agreement to purchase approximately $200 million in newly issued common stock of Trupanion, Inc., a provider of medical insurance for pets in the United States and Canada. The Company closed on approximately $60 million of this transaction in October 2020. The Company closed on the remaining approximately $140 million of this transaction in November 2020 which resulted in the Company owning approximately 9% of the outstanding common stock of Trupanion, Inc. The shares were registered for resale and, pursuant to the Shareholder Agreement, subject to certain exceptions, the Company has agreed that it will not transfer its shares of Trupanion, Inc. common stock during a restricted period ending on November 13, 2023.The Company also announced that it has entered into an alliance agreement with Trupanion, Inc. to sell pet insurance in worksites in the U.S., subject to certain exceptions, and to explore on an exclusive basis potential distribution opportunities for pet insurance in Japan.
Effective January 1, 2018, investments of Aflac U.S. as well as certain sub-advised assets of Aflac Japan, are managed by the Company’s U.S. asset management subsidiary, Aflac Asset Management LLC (AAM), and investments of Aflac Japan are managed pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between Aflac Japan and the Company's asset management subsidiary in Japan, Aflac Asset Management Japan Ltd. (AAMJ). AAMJ is licensed as a discretionary asset manager under the Japan Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and is subject to rules of the Japan Investment Advisors Association, a self-regulatory organization with mandatory membership for Japan investment managers. Effective January 19, 2021, AAM is registered with the SEC as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. AAM and AAMJ are reported in the Corporate and other segment category; however, the assets that they manage are reported in the respective Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. business segments.
For additional information on the Company's other operations, see the "Corporate and Other" subsection of the MD&A and Note 8 in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The Company’s overarching human capital philosophy is, “If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of the business.” As of December 31, 2020, Aflac Japan had 6,239 employees, Aflac U.S. had 4,906 employees, and the Company's other operations had 858 employees. The Company's compensation and benefit expense totaled approximately $2.0 billion in 2020 and $1.8 billion in 2019. The Company believes its employee relations are generally satisfactory.
The Company uses internal and external resources to attract, retain and develop talent across a variety of backgrounds and demographics.
Aflac Japan seeks diverse talent through annual recruitment of new university graduates as well as mid-career recruitment of those with specialty skills or expertise. For its employees, Aflac Japan implements standard and unified training and development programs focusing on a range of business skills. For example, Aflac Japan’s Leadership Program allows select managers to participate in a comprehensive training program to learn about innovation and the global business environment. Aflac Japan is implementing a human capital management system, beginning in January 2021 with managers and more senior leadership positions. Under the new system, employees will have access to descriptions and necessary skills for all job positions across the Company and will be able to more proactively design their careers.
Aflac U.S. recruiting efforts include partnerships with colleges and universities, including historically black colleges and universities, and civic organizations to attract diverse talent. Aflac U.S. also offers a variety of internships, co-operative opportunities and transitional programs to allow emerging talent to develop. Educational opportunities are available for self-development and growth to help employees further enhance their technical and professional skills.
The Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. Human Resources divisions operate as centralized internal compensation functions to provide oversight and input to the respective management teams with the objective of providing compensation that is consistent with job scope, duties and responsibilities. The compensation function evaluates new-hire job offers, promotions and compensation adjustments with the goal of consistent and equitable compensation. Defined salary
structures are reviewed regularly and updated utilizing market data. Job levels and associated compensation are determined based on annually updated market data, job scope, duties and responsibilities. Employee performance reviews are conducted annually and are factored into employee bonuses and salaries.
Health and Wellness
Aflac Japan is certified as a Health and Productivity Management Organization by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This certification is awarded for best practices in employee health management, strategically focused work style and development of a socially appreciative work environment. Aflac Japan has also developed a program to promote healthy lifestyles for employees at home and the office, with benefits including women’s health programs, healthy meal options in the cafeteria, fitness programs and smoking cessation support.
Aflac U.S. Health and Wellness, a training and service program works to enhance organizational health, encourage healthy lifestyles among all U.S. employees, provide diverse wellness programs to meet a wide range of personal health needs, recognize employees for participating in healthier lifestyles activities, and support a positive corporate culture that is focused on celebrating and improving the quality of life for all U.S.employees.
Diversity & Inclusion
The Company’s corporate culture reflects its commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels of the Company. For example:
•As of December 31, 2020, women account for 52% of Aflac Japan employees and 32% of those in leadership positions including managers and assistant managers. Women also held 22.5% of senior officer roles including vice presidents, senior vice presidents and executive vice presidents. Aflac Japan's goal is to further increase the percentage of women in line manager positions by 2025.
•As of December 31, 2020, nearly 50% of Aflac U.S. and the Parent Company employees located in the U.S. were minorities and approximately 66% were women. Women also occupied approximately 55% of leadership roles located in the U.S. including officers, directors, senior managers, managers and supervisors, and 30% of officer roles, including vice presidents, senior vice presidents, executive vice presidents and other officer positions. In 2020, 45% of new hires located in the U.S. were minorities and 56% were women.
•Established in 2009, Aflac Heartful Services Co., Ltd. (Aflac Heartful Services), a subsidiary of Aflac Japan, promotes the hiring of employees with disabilities. Aflac Heartful Services has established a barrier-free work environment and provides, among other things, specialized training, specially-trained supervisors and development opportunities to support those with disabilities. Of Aflac Heartful Services’ 146 employees as of December 31, 2020, 116 have a disability. Aflac Heartful Services supports these employees with the assistance of advisors for long-term career support.
•Both Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. have created diversity councils that include employees from various levels that meet regularly to discuss activities and initiatives. The councils are designed to create avenues in which employees can communicate and appreciate one another’s cultural differences.
•Females and minorities comprise approximately 64% of the Parent Company’s board of directors.
Employee Engagement and Culture
The Company strives to have an engaged employee culture by developing programs including career development support and programs emphasizing work life balance. Aflac Japan provides an annual survey to employees to assess their work styles, and in 2021 Aflac Japan plans to conduct a more comprehensive employee survey. Aflac U.S. provides an annual survey to employees to gather their views on company culture, and works with its leadership to monitor continuous improvements and enhance the employee experience. In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Aflac Japan is implementing paperless initiatives in order to promote a flexible working style not limited by time or place, and Aflac U.S. announced actions taken for its employees including a commitment to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing and extended paid leave in certain circumstances.
For more information on the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic on the Company’s human capital management, see the Executive Summary section of Item 7. MD&A.
Information about the Company's Executive Officers
|Daniel P. Amos||Chairman, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2001; Chief Executive Officer, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 1990; President, Aflac, from 2017 until 2018; President, Aflac Incorporated, from 2018 until 2020 ||69 |
|Steven K. Beaver||Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Aflac U.S., since 2019; Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis, Aflac Incorporated, from 2018 until 2019; Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Projects, Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis, Aflac Incorporated, from 2017 until 2018; Vice President, Deputy Chief Accounting Officer, Tax Department, Aflac Incorporated, from 2015 until 2016||56 |
|Max K. Brodén||Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Aflac Incorporated, since 2020; Senior Vice President and Treasurer, Aflac Incorporated, from 2017 until 2020; Senior Portfolio Manager, Norges Bank, from 2007 until 2017||42 |
|Frederick J. Crawford||President and Chief Operating Officer, Aflac Incorporated, since 2020; Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Aflac Incorporated, from 2015 until 2020; Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, CNO Financial Group, from 2012 until 2015||57 |
|J. Todd Daniels||Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Aflac Japan, since 2018; Executive Vice President, Global Chief Risk Officer and Chief Actuary, Aflac Incorporated, from 2016 until 2018; Senior Vice President, Global Chief Risk Officer and Chief Actuary, Aflac, from 2015 until 2016; Senior Vice President, Deputy Corporate Actuary and Global Chief Risk Officer, Aflac, from 2014 until 2015||50 |
|June Howard||Chief Accounting Officer, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2010; Senior Vice President, Financial Services, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2010; Treasurer, Aflac, from 2011 until 2015||54 |
|Eric M. Kirsch||Executive Vice President, Global Chief Investment Officer, Aflac, since 2012; President, Aflac Asset Management LLC, since 2017||60 |
|Masatoshi Koide ||President and Chief Operating Officer, Aflac Japan since 2017; Deputy President, Aflac Japan from 2016 until 2017; Executive Vice President, Aflac Japan from 2015 until 2016; First Senior Vice President, Aflac Japan, from 2013 until 2015||60 |
|Charles D. Lake, II||President, Aflac International, since 2014; Chairman, Aflac Japan, since 2008||59 |
|Albert A. Riggieri||Senior Vice President, Global Chief Risk Officer and Chief Actuary, Aflac Incorporated, since 2018; Senior Vice President, Corporate Actuary, Aflac, from 2016 until 2018; Group Chief Actuary, Unum Group, until 2016||65 |
|Audrey B. Tillman||Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2014||56 |
|Teresa L. White||President, Aflac U.S., since 2014||54 |
(1) Unless specifically noted, the respective executive officer has held the occupation(s) set forth in the table for at least the last five years. Each executive officer is appointed annually by the board of directors and serves until his or her successor is chosen and qualified, or until his or her death, resignation or removal.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The Company faces a wide range of risks, and its continued success depends on its ability to identify, prioritize and appropriately manage enterprise risk exposures. Readers should carefully consider each of the following risks and all of the other information set forth in this Form 10-K. These risks and other factors may affect forward-looking statements, including those in this document or made by the Company elsewhere, such as in earnings release webcasts, investor conference presentations or press releases. The risks and uncertainties described herein may not be the only ones facing the Company. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to the Company or that the Company currently believes to be immaterial may also adversely affect its business. If any of the following risks and uncertainties develops into actual events, there could be a material impact on the Company.
Investment and Markets Risk Factors
Difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy, including those caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, could have a material adverse effect on the Company's investments, capital position, revenue, profitability, and liquidity and harm the Company's business.
The Company's results of operations are materially affected by conditions in the global capital markets and the global economy generally, including in its two primary operating markets of the U.S. and Japan. Shifts in global trade policies could result in tariffs and a downturn in the global economy that could negatively impact the Company. A new U.S. presidential administration took office in January 2021, which adds further uncertainty around U.S. trade policies. Weak global financial markets impact the value of the Company's existing investment portfolio, influence opportunities for new investments, and may contribute to generally weak economic fundamentals, which can have a negative impact on its results of operations and financial positions.
Global capital markets experienced extreme volatility in early 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, but have since stabilized due to central bank and government intervention. Initial volatility triggered dramatic declines in investment values, constrained liquidity, and significantly reduced interest rates. The Company's investment portfolio, including the creditworthiness and valuation of investment assets and availability of new investments, has been, and may continue to be, adversely affected as a result of market developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty regarding its ultimate severity and duration. While conditions have improved, the Company's investments remain vulnerable to extreme asset price volatility, lack of market liquidity, credit rating downgrades, payment defaults, asset restructurings, increased losses, and other risks as the world experiences an unprecedented shock to economic activity.
The Company has evaluated its holdings and identified those investments most exposed to the negative impacts of an economic downturn as a result of COVID-19, including but not limited to investments in businesses facing an immediate and severe impact such as travel and lodging, leisure, non-emergency medical, energy, and others involving large gatherings of people. These investments are experiencing and may continue to experience higher credit losses, credit rating downgrades and/or defaults and the Company has examined in each case whether a reduction in size of the holding is appropriate. In addition, volatility in oil prices and reduction in global energy demand could have a continued adverse impact on issuers in the energy sector. While the Company has identified assets impacted or expected to be impacted by COVID-19 and its consequences, other investments not identified to date may also be impacted. The availability of new investments in certain private market asset classes, such as middle market loans, commercial mortgages and transitional real estate, has been and may continue to be limited. Interest rates have declined in response to the pandemic, and a prolonged reduction in interest rates globally could result in new investments generating lower yields than in prior periods. The Company may need to adjust its investment strategy and/or be forced to liquidate investments to pay claims. Actions of governments and central banks in response to COVID-19 may not be adequate to fully address its impact. COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented disruption of markets and business activity globally, and the Company is not able to predict the duration of such disruption or the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on the Company’s investments and hedging programs. See the risk factor below entitled, “The Company is exposed to significant interest rate risk, which may adversely affect its results of operations, financial condition and liquidity” for more information. See the “Investments” and “Results of Operations by Segment” sections of Item 7, MD&A, for more information.
As the Company holds a significant amount of fixed maturity securities issued by borrowers located in many different parts of the world, its financial results are directly influenced by global financial markets. Recent weakness in global capital markets could adversely affect the Company's financial condition, including its capital position and overall profitability. Market volatility and recessionary pressures could result in significant realized or unrealized losses due to severe price declines driven by increases in interest rates or credit spreads, defaults in payment of principal or interest, or credit rating downgrades.
Japan is the largest market for the Company's insurance products, and the Company owns substantial holdings in Japan Government Bonds (JGBs). Government actions to stimulate the economy affect the value of the Company's existing holdings, its reinvestment rate on new investments in JGBs or other yen-denominated assets, and consumer behavior relative to the Company's suite of insurance products. The additional government debt from fiscal stimulus actions could adversely impact the Japan sovereign credit profile, which could in turn lead to volatility in Japanese capital and currency markets.
Should investors become concerned with any of the Company's investment holdings, including the concentration in JGBs, its access to market sources of funding could be negatively impacted. It is possible that lenders or debt investors may also become concerned if the Company incurs large investment losses or if the level of the Company's business activity decreases due to a market downturn or there are further adverse economic trends in the U.S. or Japan, specifically, or generally in developed markets.
The Company needs liquidity to pay its operating expenses, dividends on its common stock, interest on its debt, and liabilities. See the "Liquidity and Capital Resources" Item 7, MD&A, for more information. In the event the Company's current resources do not meet its needs, the Company may need to seek additional financing. The Company's access to additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit within the financial services industry and its credit rating. See the risk factor below entitled, “Any decrease in the Company's financial strength or debt ratings may have an adverse effect on its competitive position and access to liquidity and capital” for more information.
Broad economic factors such as consumer spending, business investment, government spending, the volatility and strength of the capital markets, and inflation all affect the business and economic environment and, indirectly, the amount and profitability of the Company's business. In an economic downturn characterized by higher unemployment, lower family income, lower corporate earnings, lower business investment and lower consumer spending, the demand for financial and insurance products could be adversely affected. This adverse effect could be particularly significant for companies such as Aflac that distribute supplemental, discretionary insurance products primarily through the worksite in the event that economic conditions result in a decrease in the number of new hires and total employees. Adverse changes in the economy could potentially lead the Company's customers to be less inclined to purchase supplemental insurance coverage or to decide to cancel or modify existing insurance coverage, which could adversely affect the Company's premium revenue, results of operations and financial condition. The Company is unable to predict the course of the global financial markets or the recurrence, duration or severity of disruptions in such markets.
See the risk factor entitled "Major public health issues, and specifically the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and any resulting economic effects could have an adverse impact on the Company's financial condition and results of operations and other aspects of its business" for more information.
Defaults, downgrades, widening credit spreads or other events impairing the value of the fixed maturity securities and loan receivables in the Company's investment portfolio may reduce the Company's earnings and capital position.
The Company is subject to the risk that the issuers and/or guarantors of fixed maturity securities and loan receivables the Company owns may default on principal or interest. A significant portion of the Company's portfolio represents an unsecured obligation of the issuer, including some that may be subordinated to other debt in the issuer’s capital structure. In these cases, many factors can influence the overall creditworthiness of the issuer and ultimately its ability to service and repay the Company's holdings. This can include changes in the global economy, the company's assets, strategy, or management, shifts in the dynamics of the industries in which they compete, their access to additional funding, and the overall health of the credit markets. Factors unique to the Company's securities including contractual protections such as financial covenants or relative position in the issuer's capital structure also influence the value of the Company's holdings.
Most of the Company's investments carry a rating by one or more of the nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs or rating agencies). Any change in the rating agencies' approach to evaluating credit and assigning an opinion could negatively impact the fair value of the Company's portfolio. Any expected or sustained credit deterioration of the Company's investments will negatively impact the Company's net income and capital position through credit impairment and other credit related losses. Credit related losses that are not temporary in nature would also affect the Company's solvency ratios in the U.S. and Japan. Aflac Japan has certain regulatory accounting requirements for realizing impairments that could be triggered by credit-related losses, which may be different from U.S. GAAP and statutory requirements. These impairment losses could negatively impact Aflac Japan's earnings, and the corresponding dividends and capital deployment.
The Company is also subject to the risk that any collateral providing credit enhancement to the Company's investments could deteriorate.
The Company is also exposed to the general movement in credit market spreads. A widening of credit spreads could reduce the value of the Company's existing portfolio, create unrealized losses on its investment portfolio, and reduce the Company's adjusted capital position which is used in determining SMR in Japan. A tightening of credit spreads could reduce the net investment income available to the Company on new credit investments. Increased market volatility also makes it difficult to value certain of the Company's investment holdings. For more information, see the "Critical Accounting Estimates" section of Item 7, MD&A, and the "Credit Risk" subsection of Item 7A, Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.
The Company is exposed to significant interest rate risk, which may adversely affect its results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
The Company has substantial investment portfolios that support its policy liabilities. Interest rate risk is an inherent portfolio, business and capital risk for the Company, and significant changes in interest rates could have a material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated results of operations, financial condition or cash flows through realized losses, impairments, changes in unrealized positions, and liquidity. Changes in interest rates could also result in the Company having to recognize gains or losses because the Company disposes of some or all of its investments prior to their maturity.
The Company's exposure to interest rate risk relates primarily to the ability to invest future cash flows to support the interest rate assumption made at the time the Company's products were priced and the related reserving assumptions were established. Low levels of interest rates on investments experienced in Japan and the U.S. over the last decade have also reduced the level of investment income earned by the Company, and the Company's overall level of investment income will continue to be negatively impacted in a persistent low-interest-rate environment. While the Company generally seeks to maintain a diversified portfolio of fixed-income investments that reflects the cash flow and duration characteristics of the liabilities it supports, the Company may not be able to fully mitigate the interest rate risk of its assets relative to its liabilities. Prolonged periods of low interest rates also heighten the risk associated with future increases in interest rates because an increasing proportion of the Company's investment portfolio include investments that bear lower rates of return than the embedded book yield of the investment portfolio. A rise in interest rates could decrease the fair value of the Company's debt securities.
A sustained decline in interest rates could hinder the Company's ability to earn the returns assumed in the pricing and the reserving for its insurance products at the time they were sold and issued and may also influence the Company's ability to develop and price attractive new products and could impact its overall sales levels. The Company's first sector products are more interest rate sensitive than third sector products. As discussed in Item 1, Business, beginning in 2013, Aflac Japan began to curtail sales of first sector savings-type products due to persistent low interest rates in Japan. The continuing negative interest rate imposed by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) on excess bank reserves could continue to have a negative impact on the distribution and pricing of these products.
Conversely, a rise in interest rates could improve the Company's ability to earn higher rates of return on future investments, as well as floating rate investments held in its investment portfolio. However, an increase in the differential of short-term U.S. and Japan interest rates would also increase the cost of hedging a portion of the U.S. dollar-denominated assets in the Aflac Japan segment into yen, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, results of operations or financial condition. Further, some of the insurance products that Aflac sells in the U.S. and Japan provide cash surrender values, and a rise in interest rates could trigger significant policy surrenders, which might require the Company to sell investment assets and recognize unrealized losses. Rising interest rates also negatively impact SMR because unrealized losses on the available-for-sale investment portfolio factor into the ratio. For regulatory accounting purposes for Aflac Japan, there are also certain requirements for realizing impairments that could be triggered by rising interest rates, negatively impacting Aflac Japan's earnings and corresponding dividends and capital deployment.
The Company’s floating rate investments typically bear interest based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Regulatory and industry initiatives to eliminate LIBOR as an interest rate benchmark may create uncertainty in the valuation of LIBOR-based loans, derivatives, and other financial contracts. The Company is unable to predict with certainty how LIBOR elimination may impact markets, pricing, liquidity and other factors or the Company's activities.
See the "Interest Rate Risk" subsection of Item 7A, Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk for more information.
The Company's concentration of business in Japan poses risks to its operations and financial condition.
The Company's operations in Japan, including net investment gains and losses on Aflac Japan's investment portfolio, accounted for 68% of the Company's total revenues in 2020, 69% in 2019 and 70% 2018. The Japanese operations accounted for 83% of the Company's total assets at both December 31, 2020 and 2019.