Gard News 207, August/October 2012
12 JUL 2012
Gard News introduces the members of staff in Gard's Tokyo office.
Gard Japan was established in 1991, so Gard has had a presence in the Japanese market for over 20 years - old hands already! Gard's operations in Japan were originally run by "Assuranceforeningen Gard - Japan Branch", which was also known as "Gard P&I Japan and Far East"; a prerequisite to opening the branch office was obtaining a licence for P&I insurance from the Financial Services Agency in Japan. In the early 1990s this was quite an achievement for a small specialist foreign insurance company, since there were relatively few foreign insurers established in Japan then.
Over time it was decided to update Gard's arrangements in Japan. Gard (Japan) K.K. was established as a subsidiary of Gard AS in Japan, acting as a service centre for Gard P&I Members, and formally commenced operations on 20th February 2010. The branch office remains and is now dedicated to marketing and underwriting P&I for Japanese Members with back-office support from Gard (Japan) K.K. Almost all staff are employed by Gard (Japan) K.K.
In terms of claims handling, Gard (Japan) K.K. is now handling cases direct with Japanese Members, as an integrated part of Gard's claims department, in the usual liaison with head office and the other offices within the Gard group.
Office management and marketing
Tadashi Sugimoto is the Managing Director of Gard Japan. He also performs the function of Representative of Assuranceforeningen Gard - Japan Branch. Tadashi graduated from Tokyo University of Mercantile Marine and afterwards finished Law school in Tokyo, achieving Juris Doctor qualification. He started his career as a deck officer and land-based ship management staff at a Japanese shipping company. He spent ten years in the Japan P&I Club as a Claims Manager before joining Gard.
Toshiyuki Kawana is Manager of Assuranceforeningen Gard - Japan Branch. He started his career working as a researcher of transportation, then worked for Allianz as Account Manager. He has a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Sociology from Keio University.
John Martin started his career with Richards Hogg Average Adjusters in London and worked for them in several locations, including Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. John became a qualified fellow of the UK Association of Average Adjusters in 2000. During this time he was also P&I correspondent for the Standard Club in Hong Kong. John held a variety of positions at Gard Hong Kong, including Managing Director, before moving to Tokyo to take up the position of Claims Director.
Katsumi Imamura graduated from Tokyo University of Mercantile Marine and started his maritime career working on board as Captain, Chief Officer, then worked at TCC where he focused on chartering and trading of bulk cargo with a particular focus on bulk handling systems. He handles all types of P&I claims as part of his job.
Masamichi Yokoyama holds an LLB degree from Waseda University. Prior to joining Gard he worked for the Japan P&I Club for eleven years as a Claims Manager. He handles all types of P&I claims.
Hiroko Suzue has eighteen years' experience in handling personal injury and crew claims. She has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from Meiji Gakuin University.
Fernando Shuhei Iida holds an American LLM degree in Admiralty from Tulane University and a Japanese LLB degree from Keio University. He has also completed an LLM course in Mexico, taught in Spanish. Fernando handles all types of P&I claims.
Akiko Inohana, Assistant Manager, has responsibility for office accounting and general affairs of Gard (Japan) K.K. She also performs back-office assistance in reporting to FSA and documentation. She has a Bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Regional Development Studies, Toyo University.
Ayako Kurata works as Claims Assistant as well as Office Clerical Assistant.
Any comments on this article can be e-mailed to the Gard News Editorial Team.