Sony’s moneymaker: Selling insurance

Hiroko Tabuchi for The New York Times:

Although Sony sells hundreds of products as varied as batteries and head-mounted 3-D displays, it so happens that Sony’s most successful business is selling insurance. While it doesn’t run this business in the United States or Europe, Sony makes a lot of money writing life, auto and medical policies in Japan.

Its financial arm accounts for 63 percent of Sony’s total operating profit last year. Life insurance has been its biggest moneymaker over the last decade, earning the company 933 billion yen ($9.07 billion) in operating profit in the 10 years that ended in March.

I’m happy that Sony is making money in one portion of its business, but I find it really sad that the maker of the iconic Walkman is selling insurance.

  • Everyone does know that Samsung sales life insurance in Asia too, right?

    Odd coincidence. Or maybe, a reminder of how bad hardware margins are these days for everyone other than Apple.

    • Wrong.

      Pansaonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and several other electronic giants sell a wide array of varied products in Japan since more than a decade ago.

      You can find rice cookers, bread bakers, slot machines, fans, air conditioning, insurance and countless others products of these brands.

      • Oh, of course. And Samsung makes ships too.

        Still, it is an odd coincidence that Samsung and Sony sell insurance, regardless of whether this is new or not.

    • qka

      More importantly, what doesn’t Samsung sell? Their being into everything is a big part of why young people in Korea don’t hold Samsung in very high regard; they’re in their face everywhere they go. That Samsung is led by crooks (CEO convicted several times in Korean courts, then pardoned) doesn’t help.

  • Sony’s life insurance business is as old as the Walkman. Key difference is dying never goes out of style.

  • Moeskido

    Sounds like G.E. all over again.

  • mluisbrown

    You all know that Porsche makes a lot more money from financial derivatives trading than selling cars, right?