Say hello to the Tokio Marine Corporate Touch 6s new title sponsor, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, we took Takako Matsuo, Senior Manager & Head of Marketing to a community rugby game in Dubai and asked her about the sponsorship.
Konnichiwa and welcome Takako to the wonderful world of Touch!
Thank you, I’m so glad to be here and for our company to become part of the Touch and corporate sports community in the UAE.
Although there’s ‘Marine’ in the name, you do a lot more than this. Can you tell us about your business?
“Tokio Marine has a long heritage in insurance of all types, for businesses and consumers. We can trace our roots back to 1879 in Japan where our head office opened over 140 years ago with marine insurance, but the company soon branched out into other areas and now we’re a big globally in most types of non-life insurance, especially motor and we’re particularly focused on SME businesses.”
You’ve been in the UAE a long time. What do you attribute that to?
“Yes, we have been in the UAE for nearly 50 years since 1976. We have 80 staff in our 2 branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s a fast-growing market, very tough competition but we think we can continue to win because of our differentiation which is to really focus on customer satisfaction. This is our global strength that we know connects really well here. People only really feel the difference in insurance when bad things happen. At that point and in the moment we’re fully focused on your claim, on putting things right. Further we have a great relationship with our local partner Al Futtaim, who over 45 years has been a very solid and reliable partnership.”
What is it about the Corporate Touch 6s particularly that appeals to Tokio Marine?
“The sport and this event is very attractive to us for a number of reasons. It appeals to a large and diverse range of organisations both big and small in the right industries and sectors, and now that the event is celebrating its 10th edition, we see that it’s become very well established. Like Tokio Marine itself the event has longevity and a great opportunity to continue to expand. We see a great opportunity to raise the profile of both our business and the tournament together. I can see from the players here tonight that it’s a relatively easy, game to play and you might say a no-brainer for Corporates to see real value in this – from a HR, sales and marketing team building and corporate health perspective and also from the networking opportunities off the pitch. We’re keen to be associated with all these opportunities and the high calibre of companies it attracts.”
Have you been involved with sports before?
“We have sponsored a golf event, but only lightly. Golf is a more traditional type of sponsorship, whereas we think Touch is more innovative, and has a more diverse appeal, helping people look at us differently too. It’s also more inclusive and community focused and therefore a great fit for our values. That’s why we decided to go bigger and for longer with the corporate Touch 6s.”
What do sports like Touch mean to you?
“Sports have an amazing power to really connect with people. It’s not all about business but also a celebration of life and challenge. Every one competing turns up with their best spirit. Then there is the key health and wellness aspect. Everybody’s health is important to them individually and to their performance, and we want to show the value we place on caring for your health and the health of your team.”
Will you be entering a team yourselves (next year)?
“Yes, this will be good for team building and it is our plan, but we must practice first! I am sure from our 80 local employees we will find a team – but just in case we might put it on staff recruitment forms! I’m joking of course; however, we might invite some of our senior managers from Japan who played rugby at school to take part where playing it is almost a tradition. I hear that Touch is big in schools in Japan, like it is becoming in the UAE.”
What’s your vision for the future?
“We always look where possible for a long-term relationship – that goes both for customers and this sponsorship and we see a bright future together. In the coming years we aim for growth of the business and to raise our profile. We have been here for 45 years but without extensive promotion much beyond our traditional Japanese clients and we want to broaden our range of SME clients.”
To wrap up, a couple of fun questions…
Is Tokio the proper spelling of Tokyo? Have we been getting it wrong all these years?
“When the company was registered, it was done so phonetically, and it became too late to change it!”
How would you rate your ability to catch and pass a ball?
“A 7 out of 10!!! Let’s have a go!”
‘Arigato’, Thank you Takako!
“We’re delighted to sponsor this precious event – the 10th anniversary is an achievement, and it’s not easy, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity for a long-term relationship and to form a new tradition with you.