10-K 1 afl12311610k.htm 10-K Document
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016
or
¨
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
aflaclogoa01a01a01a08.jpg
Aflac Incorporated
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Georgia
 
58-1167100
(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
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $.10 Par Value
 
New York Stock Exchange
 
 
Tokyo 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 and posted on its corporate website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files).    þ  Yes  ¨  No
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (Section 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
  Large accelerated filer
þ
 
 
Accelerated filer
¨
  Non-accelerated filer
¨
(Do not check if smaller reporting company
 
Smaller reporting company  
¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). ¨  Yes    þ  No
The aggregate market value of the voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2016, was $29,327,044,586.
The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding at February 15, 2017, with $.10 par value, was 401,426,860.
 
 
Documents Incorporated By Reference
Certain information contained in the Notice and Proxy Statement for the Company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 1, 2017, is incorporated by reference into Part III hereof.
 



Aflac Incorporated
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Year Ended December 31, 2016
Table of Contents
 
 
Page
 
 
 
PART I
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1.
 
 
 
Item 1A.
 
 
 
Item 1B.
 
 
 
Item 2.
 
 
 
Item 3.
 
 
 
Item 4.
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
 
 
 
Item 6.
 
 
 
Item 7.
 
 
 
Item 7A.
 
 
 
Item 8.
 
 
 
Item 9.
 
 
 
Item 9A.
 
 
 
Item 9B.
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
 
 
 
Item 11.
 
 
 
Item 12.
 
 
 
Item 13.
 
 
 
Item 14.
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
 


 

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As used in this report, “we,” “our,” “us” and “Registrant” refer to Aflac Incorporated.

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This report includes certain forward-looking information that is based on current expectations and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. For details on forward-looking information, see Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A), Part II, Item 7, of this report.
Aflac Incorporated qualifies as a large accelerated filer within the meaning of Rule 12b-2 under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as amended (the Exchange Act). Our Internet address is aflac.com. The information on the Company's website is not incorporated by reference in this annual report on Form 10-K. We make available, free of charge on the Investors portion of our website, our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments thereto as soon as reasonably practicable after those forms have been electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

General Description
Aflac Incorporated (the Parent Company) was incorporated in 1973 under the laws of the state of Georgia. Aflac Incorporated is a general business holding company and acts as a management company, overseeing the operations of its subsidiaries by providing management services and making capital available. Its principal business is voluntary supplemental and life insurance, which is marketed and administered through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), which operates in the United States (Aflac U.S.) and as a branch in Japan (Aflac Japan). Most of Aflac's policies are individually underwritten and marketed through independent agents. Aflac U.S. markets and administers group products through Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), branded as Aflac Group Insurance. Our insurance operations in the United States and our branch in Japan service the two markets for our insurance business.
On December 2, 2016, we publicly announced that we will pursue the conversion of Aflac Japan from a branch structure to a subsidiary structure, with the subsidiary incorporated as a “Kabushiki Kaisha.” While the branch structure remains an acceptable legal form, the subsidiary structure has emerged as the more prevalent structure for both domestic and foreign companies operating in Japan. In addition, emerging global regulatory standards generally favor the subsidiary structure for foreign insurance and financial service companies. The adoption of this new organizational framework is expected to be tax-neutral and not to have a material impact on the daily operations of either Aflac Japan or Aflac U.S. as a result of this conversion. In addition, we expect to obtain enhanced flexibility in capital management and business development as a result of the conversion. We anticipate completion of the conversion in mid-2018.

Aflac offers voluntary insurance policies in Japan and the United States that provide a layer of financial protection against income and asset loss. We continue to diversify our product offerings in both Japan and the United States. Aflac Japan sells voluntary supplemental insurance products, including cancer plans, general medical indemnity plans, medical/sickness riders, care plans, living benefit life plans, ordinary life insurance plans and annuities. Aflac U.S. sells voluntary supplemental insurance products including products designed to protect individuals from depletion of assets (accident, cancer, critical illness/care, hospital indemnity, fixed-benefit dental, and vision care plans) and loss-of-income products (life and short-term disability plans).

We are authorized to conduct insurance business in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, several U.S. territories and Japan. Aflac Japan's revenues, including realized gains and losses on its investment portfolio, accounted for 71% of the Company's total revenues in 2016, compared with 70% in 2015 and 72% in 2014. The percentage of the Company's total assets attributable to Aflac Japan was 83% at both December 31, 2016 and 2015.
Reporting Segments
Aflac's insurance business consists of two reporting segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. Aflac Japan, which currently operates as a branch of Aflac, is the principal contributor to the Parent Company’s consolidated earnings. The conversion of Aflac Japan to a subsidiary structure is not expected to affect our segment reporting structure.
For information on our results of operations and financial information by segment, see MD&A and Note 2 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.

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Foreign Currency Translation
Aflac Japan’s premiums and approximately half of its investment income are received in yen. Claims and most expenses are paid in yen, and we purchase yen-denominated assets and U.S. dollar-denominated assets, which may be hedged to yen, to support yen-denominated policy liabilities. These and other yen-denominated financial statement items are, however, translated into dollars for financial reporting purposes. For information regarding the effect of currency fluctuations on our business, see the Foreign Currency Translation and Market Risks of Financial Instruments - Currency Risk subsections of MD&A and Notes 1 and 2 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.

Insurance Premiums
The growth of earned premiums is directly affected by the change in premiums in force and by the change in weighted-average yen/dollar exchange rates. Consolidated earned premiums were $19.2 billion in 2016, $17.6 billion in 2015, and $19.1 billion in 2014. For additional information on the composition of earned premiums by segment, see Note 2 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report. The following table presents the changes in annualized premiums in force for Aflac's insurance business for the years ended December 31.
(In millions)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Annualized premiums in force, beginning of year
$
19,173

 
$
18,894

 
$
20,440

New sales, including conversions
2,527

 
2,484

 
2,513

Change in unprocessed new sales
(46
)
 
(41
)
 
13

Premiums lapsed and surrendered
(2,102
)
 
(2,104
)
 
(2,146
)
Other
(351
)
 
(56
)
 
(29
)
Foreign currency translation adjustment
483

 
(4
)
 
(1,897
)
Annualized premiums in force, end of year
$
19,684

 
$
19,173

 
$
18,894

Japan
We translate Aflac Japan's annualized premiums in force into dollars at the respective end-of-period exchange rates. Changes in annualized premiums in force are translated at weighted-average exchange rates. The following table presents the changes in annualized premiums in force for Aflac Japan for the years ended December 31.
  
In Dollars
 
In Yen
(In millions of dollars and billions of yen)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016

 
2015

 
2014

Annualized premiums in force, beginning of year
$
13,413

 
$
13,226

 
$
14,870

 
1,617

 
1,594

 
1,567

New sales, including conversions
1,045

 
997

 
1,080

 
114

 
121

 
115

Change in unprocessed new sales
(46
)
 
(41
)
 
13

 
(5
)
 
(5
)
 
1

Premiums lapsed and surrendered
(623
)
 
(578
)
 
(695
)
 
(68
)
 
(70
)
 
(74
)
Other
(484
)
 
(187
)
 
(145
)
 
(52
)
 
(23
)
 
(15
)
Foreign currency translation adjustment
483

 
(4
)
 
(1,897
)
 
0

 
0

 
0

Annualized premiums in force, end of year
$
13,788

 
$
13,413

 
$
13,226

 
1,606

 
1,617

 
1,594

For further information regarding Aflac Japan's financial results and sales, see the Aflac Japan Segment subsection of MD&A in this report.

U.S.
The following table presents the changes in annualized premiums in force for Aflac U.S. for the years ended December 31.
(In millions)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Annualized premiums in force, beginning of year
 
$
5,760

 
 
 
$
5,668

 
 
 
$
5,570

 
New sales, including conversions
 
1,482

 
 
 
1,487

 
 
 
1,433

 
Premiums lapsed
 
(1,479
)
 
 
 
(1,526
)
 
 
 
(1,451
)
 
Other
 
133

 
 
 
131

 
 
 
116

 
Annualized premiums in force, end of year
 
$
5,896

 
 
 
$
5,760

 
 
 
$
5,668

 

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For further information regarding Aflac's U.S. financial results and sales, see the Aflac U.S. Segment subsection of MD&A in this report.

Insurance Products
 
 
Aflac Japan
 
Aflac U.S.
 
 
Third Sector Insurance
 
 
 
Cancer
 
 
 
Cancer
 
 
 
Accident
 
 
 
Medical
 
 
 
Short-Term Disability
 
 
 
Income Support
 
 
 
Critical Illness
 
 
First Sector Insurance
 
 
 
Hospital Indemnity
 
 
 
Life
 
 
 
Dental
 
 
 
 
Protection
 
 
 
Vision
 
 
 
 
 
Term
 
 
 
Life (Term, Whole)
 
 
 
 
 
Whole
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Savings
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hybrid (WAYS)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Child Endowment
 
 
 
 
 

Japan
Aflac Japan's 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 foundation of Aflac Japan's product portfolio has been, and continues to be, our third sector cancer and medical insurance products. Aflac pioneered the cancer insurance market in Japan in 1974, and we remain the number one provider of cancer insurance in Japan today. Over the years, we’ve customized our cancer insurance product to respond to, and anticipate, the needs of our consumers and the advances in medical treatments. The cancer insurance plans we offer in Japan provide a lump-sum benefit upon initial diagnosis of internal cancer and benefits for treatment received due to internal cancer such as fixed daily benefits for hospitalization, outpatient services and convalescent care, and surgical and terminal care benefits. In September 2014, Aflac Japan introduced New Cancer DAYS, a new cancer insurance product which provides enhanced coverage, including outpatient treatments and multiple cancer occurrence benefits. At the same time, premiums for this product have been lowered for most ages compared to prior plans. In October 2014, Aflac Japan introduced a unique Aflac-branded cancer insurance product for Japan's postal system, Japan Post (see the Distribution - Japan section for background information). In March 2016, we launched a cancer insurance product that offers protection to customers who have survived cancer. As the number one provider of cancer insurance in Japan, we believe these products further strengthen our brand, and most importantly, provide valuable benefits to consumers who are looking for solutions to manage cancer-related costs.

In early 2002, we introduced EVER, a stand-alone, whole-life medical insurance product which offers a basic level of hospitalization coverage with an affordable premium. Since its initial introduction, we have expanded our suite of EVER product offerings to appeal to specific types of Japanese consumers and achieve greater market penetration. In June 2015, we upgraded our EVER insurance product to include riders to be associated with three critical illnesses (cancer, heart attack, and stroke) to better respond to consumer’s needs for coverage of serious illnesses. These riders provide policyholders with a benefit upon the diagnosis for those three critical illnesses, waiver of premium payment thereafter and unlimited hospital days for such critical illnesses. Gentle EVER, our non-standard medical insurance product, is designed to meet the needs of certain consumers who cannot qualify for our base EVER plan. An upgrade to our Gentle EVER insurance product, released in July 2012, included expanded benefits and an attached advanced medical care rider. In March 2016, we made revisions to our Gentle EVER insurance product to enhance its alignment with changing customer needs.


3



We believe that the affordable cancer and medical insurance products Aflac Japan provides will continue to be an important part of our product portfolio. Nevertheless, as we continue our long history of product innovation, Aflac Japan's product portfolio has expanded beyond traditional health-related products.

In July 2016, we launched a new third sector product called Income Support Insurance. This product 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. This product targets young to middle-aged consumers, and by focusing our efforts on this demographic, we believe we are building relationships that lay the groundwork for the sale of our cancer and medical insurance later in life to the Income Support policyholders.

While Aflac Japan continues to offer life insurance and other first sector products, we have decreased sales of first sector savings products, such as WAYS, child endowment and annuities, in 2016 in light of the negative interest-rate environment in Japan. We continue to monitor interest rates and their effects on our first sector business. We believe that the measures taken to date, including lowering assumed interest rates or increasing premiums, are appropriate in response to interest rates and that life insurance continues to provide cross-selling opportunities for our third sector products such as cancer and medical insurance. Some of the life insurance products that we offer in Japan provide death benefits and cash surrender values. These products are available as stand-alone policies and riders, providing a mix of term and whole life coverage. Our WAYS insurance product 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. In November 2016, we lowered the assumed interest rate for WAYS reflecting the continued low interest rate environment, consistent with our desire to de-emphasize first-sector sales and bolster profitability. Also in November 2016, Aflac Japan halted the offering of traditional fixed-income annuities. Aflac Japan's child endowment insurance product offers a death benefit until a child reaches age 18. It also pays a lump-sum benefit 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. In January 2017, we increased the premium level of this product reflecting the continued low interest rate environment.

For additional information on Aflac Japan's products and composition of sales, see the Aflac Japan Segment subsection of MD&A in this report.

U.S.
We design our U.S. insurance products to provide supplemental coverage for people who already have major medical or primary insurance coverage. Most of our U.S. policies are individually underwritten and marketed through independent agents. Additionally, we started to market and administer group insurance products in 2009.

Our individually issued policies are portable and pay benefits regardless of other insurance. Most products' benefits are paid in cash directly to policyholders; therefore, our customers have the opportunity to use this cash to help with expenses of their choosing. Our individually issued health insurance plans are typically guaranteed-renewable for the lifetime of the policyholder (to age 75 for short-term disability policies).

Aflac U.S. offers short-term disability benefits on both an individual and group basis. In 2013 and 2014, we introduced a completely redesigned group short-term disability product with enhanced benefit options and higher income replacement amounts.

Aflac U.S. offers accident coverage on both an individual and group basis. These policies are designed to protect against losses resulting from accidents. 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. In 2015, we introduced a new individual accident plan with new benefits for home modifications, improved wellness benefits and a new benefit that provides an additional payout for injuries related to participations in an organized sporting activity.

Aflac U.S. offers coverage for critical care on both an individual and group basis. These policies are designed to protect against losses resulting from critical illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, or cancer. On an individually underwritten basis we offer cancer plans, critical illness plans, and critical care and recovery plans (formerly called specified health event). On a group basis we offer critical illness plans. In 2015, an updated group critical illness plan was introduced that provides benefits for 30 additional conditions in addition to more consumer options.
 
Aflac U.S. offers hospital indemnity coverage on both an individual and group basis. Our hospital indemnity products provide policyholders fixed dollar benefits triggered by hospitalization due to accident or sickness, or just sickness alone. Indemnity benefits for inpatient and outpatient surgeries, as well as various other diagnostic events, are also available. We also offer a lump sum rider than can be added to our individual accident, short-term disability and hospital indemnity

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products. This rider, where available, provides a lump sum payment for a range of critical illness events including traumatic brain injury, Type 1 diabetes, advanced Alzheimer’s disease and many more. In January 2016, a new group hospital indemnity plan was introduced that includes 11 new benefits, including telemedicine and health screening. This plan provides flexibility, allowing our clients to personalize their plan designs to complement the underlying medical coverage that is offered to employees.

Aflac U.S. offers additional coverages to those listed above, including dental, vision and life policies. 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. Aflac U.S. also offers term- and whole-life policies on both an individual and group basis.

For additional information on Aflac's U.S. products and composition of sales, see the Aflac U.S. Segment subsection of MD&A in this report.

Distribution Channels
 
Aflac Japan
 
Aflac U.S.
 
 
Individual/ Independent Corporate Agencies

 
Independent Associates


 
 
Affiliated Corporate Agencies
 
Brokers
 
 
Banks
 
 
 

Japan

The traditional channels through which we have sold our products consist of individual agents/agencies, independent corporate agencies, and affiliated corporate agencies. The individual agencies and independent corporate agencies that sell our products give us better access to workers at a vast number of small businesses in Japan. Agents' activities are primarily focused on insurance sales, with customer service support provided by the Aflac Contact Center. Affiliated corporate agencies are originally formed when companies establish subsidiary businesses to sell our insurance products to their employees as part of a benefit package, and then expand to sell our products to other parties such as suppliers and customers. These agencies help us reach employees at large worksites, and some of them are also successful in approaching customers outside their business groups. We believe that new agencies will continue to be attracted to Aflac Japan's competitive commissions, attractive products, superior customer service and strong brand image.

We have sold our products to employees of banks since our entry into Japan in 1974. However, December 2007 marked the first time it was permissible for banks to sell our type of insurance products to their customers. By the end of 2016, we had agreements with approximately 90% of the total number of banks in Japan, to sell our products. We believe we have more banks selling our supplemental health insurance products than any of our competitors. Japanese consumers rely on banks to provide traditional bank services, and also to provide insurance solutions and other services. We believe our long-standing and strong relationships within the Japanese banking sector, along with our strategic preparations, have proven to be an advantage, particularly starting when this channel opened up for our products. Our partnerships throughout the banking sector provide us with a wider demographic of potential customers than we would otherwise have been able to reach, and it also allows banks to expand their product and service offerings to consumers.
In 2005, legislation aimed at privatizing Japan's postal system (Japan Post) was enacted into law. The privatization laws split Japan Post into four operating entities that began operating in October 2007. In 2007, one of these entities selected Aflac Japan as its provider of cancer insurance to be sold through its post offices, and, in 2008, we began selling cancer insurance through these post offices. Japan Post has historically been a popular place for consumers to purchase insurance products. Legislation to reform the postal system passed Japan’s legislature, the Diet, in April 2012 and resulted in the merger of two of the postal operating entities (the one that delivers the mail and the one that runs the post offices) in October 2012. In July 2013, Aflac Japan entered into a new agreement with Japan Post Holdings to further expand the partnership that was established in 2008. At the end of June 2014, Japan Post Insurance (Kampo) received approval from Japan’s primary insurance regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), to enter into an agency contract with Aflac Japan to begin distributing Aflac Japan's cancer insurance products through all of Kampo's 79 directly managed sales offices. Aflac Japan has developed a unique Aflac-branded cancer insurance product for Japan Post and Kampo that was introduced in October 2014. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the number of postal outlets selling our cancer insurance products expanded to approximately 10,000, and beginning in July 2015, Japan Post expanded the number of post offices that offer Aflac's cancer insurance products to more than 20,000 postal outlets. We believe this alliance with Japan Post, which is included in our affiliated corporate agencies distribution channel, has benefited and will further benefit our cancer insurance sales.

5




For additional information on Aflac Japan's distribution, see the Aflac Japan Segment subsection of MD&A in this report.
U.S.
As of December 31, 2016, our U.S. sales force was composed of sales associates and brokers who are licensed to sell accident and health insurance. Many are also licensed to sell life insurance.

Sales associates and brokers are independent contractors and are paid commissions based on first-year and renewal premiums from their sales of insurance products. In addition to receiving commissions on personal production, district and regional sales coordinators may also receive override commissions and incentive bonuses.
We believe that changes we made to our career and broker management infrastructure over the last 30 months are laying the foundation for expanded long-term growth opportunities. During 2014, Aflac U.S. implemented tactical initiatives centered around providing competitive compensation to our career agent sales hierarchy and positioning us to more effectively and consistently execute on the U.S. sales strategy across all states. These measures were designed to more effectively link sales management's success to Aflac's success. For example, we enhanced compensation through an incentive bonus for the first level of our sales management, district sales coordinators, who are primarily responsible for selling Aflac products and training new sales associates. Additionally, we eliminated the commission-based position of state sales coordinator. To better manage our state operations, we introduced the new position of market director, effective October 1, 2014. Market directors are salaried with the opportunity to earn sales-related bonuses. We believe these changes have enhanced and will continue to enhance performance management and better align compensation with new business results.

We concentrate on marketing our insurance products at the worksite. This method offers policies to individuals through employment, trade and other associations. Historically, our policies have been individually underwritten with premiums generally paid by the employee. Additionally, Aflac's individual policies are portable, meaning that individuals may retain their full insurance coverage upon separation from employment or such affiliation, generally at the same premium. We collect a major portion of premiums on such sales through payroll deduction or other forms of centralized billing. With our brokerage sales expansion and CAIC, branded as Aflac Group Insurance, we offer group voluntary insurance products desired by many large employers. These products are sold on a group basis and often have some element of guaranteed issue. Worksite marketing enables sales associates and brokers to reach a greater number of prospective policyholders and lowers distribution costs, compared with individually marketed business.

Aflac U.S. utilizes dual-channel distribution to market our insurance products to businesses of all sizes. Our career agent channel focuses on marketing Aflac to the small business market, which consists of employers with less than 100 employees. As such, we have aligned our recruiting, training, compensation, marketing and incentives for our career agents to encourage specific activity and sales of individual policies in this market. Our newest channel is the broker channel, which is a sales division of Aflac Group. The broker channel focuses on selling to the mid- and large-case market, which is comprised of employers with more than 100 employees and typically an average size of 1,000 employees or more. Since regional and national brokers have traditionally served the mid- and large-case market, the highly trained and experienced sales professionals of the broker channel are assigned a geographic market to strengthen relationships with the top brokers and sell Aflac products to their clients. As a result, we are represented on more than 80 benefit administration platforms, sometimes referred to as exchanges, of various brokers.

For additional information on Aflac's U.S. distribution, see the Aflac U.S. Segment subsection of MD&A in this report.

6



Competition
Japan
In 1974, Aflac was granted an operating license to sell life insurance in Japan, making Aflac the second non-Japanese life insurance company to gain direct access to the Japanese insurance market. Through 1981, we faced limited competition for cancer insurance policy sales. However, Japan has experienced two periods of deregulation since we entered the market. The first came in the early 1980s, when nine mid-sized insurers, including domestic and foreign companies, were allowed to sell cancer insurance products for the first time. The second period began in 2001 when all life and non-life insurers were allowed to sell stand-alone cancer and medical insurance products as well as other stand-alone health insurance products. As a result, the number of insurance companies offering stand-alone cancer and medical insurance has more than doubled since the market was deregulated in 2001. However, based on our growth of annualized premiums in force and agencies, we do not believe that our market-leading position has been significantly impacted by increased competition. Furthermore, we believe the continued development and maintenance of operating efficiencies will allow us to offer affordable products that appeal to consumers. Aflac is the largest life insurer in Japan in terms of cancer and medical policies in force. As of December 31, 2016, we exceeded 24 million individual policies in force in Japan.

Aflac has had substantial success selling cancer policies in Japan, with more than 15 million cancer policies in force as of December 31, 2016. Aflac continued to be the number one seller of cancer insurance policies in Japan throughout 2016. We believe we will remain a leading provider of cancer insurance coverage in Japan, principally due to our experience in the market, low-cost operations, expansive marketing system (see Distribution - Japan above) and product expertise.

We have also experienced substantial success selling medical insurance in Japan. While other companies have recognized the opportunities that we have seen in the medical insurance market and offered new products, we endeavor to make our products stand out for their value to consumers.

U.S.
Aflac competes against several voluntary supplemental insurance carriers on a national and regional basis. We believe our policies, premium rates, and sales commissions are competitive by product type. Moreover, we believe that Aflac products are distinct from competitive offerings given our product focus (including features, benefits, and our claims service model), distribution capabilities, and brand awareness. For many companies with which we compete, voluntary supplemental insurance products are sold as a secondary business. A growing number of major medical and life insurance carriers are also entering into the voluntary supplemental insurance market. For Aflac, supplemental insurance products are our primary business and are sold via a distribution network of independent sales associates and brokers (see U.S. Distribution above). Aflac's advertising campaigns have increased our name awareness and understanding by consumers and businesses of the value our products provide.

Both private and publicly-traded insurers offer major medical insurance for hospitalization and medical expenses. Much of this insurance is sold on a group basis to accounts that are both fully and self-insured. The federal and state governments also pay substantial costs of medical treatment through various programs. Major medical insurance generally covers a substantial portion of the medical expenses incurred by an insured. Aflac policies are designed to provide coverage that supplements major medical insurance by paying cash directly to the policyholder to use for expenses their major medical insurance is not designed to cover. Thus, we do not compete directly with major medical insurers except those who sell supplemental insurance products as a secondary business. Any reduction of coverage, increase in employee participation costs, or increased deductibles and copayments by major medical commercial or government insurance carriers could favorably affect our business opportunities. Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning in 2010, some employers have shifted a larger burden of the cost of care to their employees, primarily through increases in premiums, copays, and/or deductibles. Since Aflac products provide an additional level of financial protection for policyholders, we believe the increased financial exposure some employees may face creates a favorable opportunity for our products. However, given the profitability erosion some major medical carriers are facing in their core lines of business, we have seen a more competitive landscape as they seek entry into Aflac's supplemental product segments in an effort to offset this impact.

One Day PaySM is a claims initiative that we have introduced at Aflac U.S. to process, approve and pay eligible claims in just one day. We believe that along with our brand and relevant products, this claims practice has helped Aflac stand out from competitors.


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Investments and Investment Results
Net investment income was $3.3 billion in 2016, $3.1 billion in 2015 and $3.3 billion in 2014. The increase in the reported net investment income in U.S. dollar terms for 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily due to translation of yen-denominated income. In 2016, we continued to address the challenge of investing in this low-interest-rate environment by increasing our allocation to higher yielding asset classes, while still adhering to our strategic asset allocation. For further information on our investments and investment results, see the Insurance Operations and Analysis of Financial Condition sections of MD&A and Notes 3, 4 and 5 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.

Regulation

Japan

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. GAAP. For example, under Japanese regulatory accounting practices, policy acquisition costs are expensed immediately; policy benefit and claim reserving methods and assumptions are different; premium income is recognized on a cash basis; different consolidation criteria apply to variable interest entities (VIEs); different accounting applies to reinsurance; and investments can have a separate accounting classification and treatment referred to as policy reserve matching bonds (PRM). Capital and surplus of Aflac Japan, based on Japanese regulatory accounting practices, was $5.6 billion at December 31, 2016, compared with $4.7 billion at December 31, 2015.

The FSA maintains a solvency standard, which is used by Japanese regulators to monitor the financial strength of insurance companies. As of December 31, 2016, Aflac Japan's solvency margin ratio (SMR) was 945%, compared with 828% at December 31, 2015. Aflac Japan's SMR is sensitive to interest rate, credit spread and foreign exchange rate changes. In 2015, Aflac Japan made additional investments in yen-denominated public equity securities and in 2016 invested in U.S. dollar-denominated public equity securities, thereby adding sensitivity to equity market fluctuations. See the Capital Resources and Liquidity Section of MD&A for a discussion of measures we have taken to mitigate the sensitivity of Aflac Japan's SMR.

We typically repatriate a portion of Aflac Japan's accumulated earnings, as determined on a Japanese regulatory accounting basis, to Aflac U.S. provided that Aflac Japan has adequately protected policyholders' interests as measured by its SMR. The FSA may not allow profit repatriations to Aflac U.S. if the transfers would cause Aflac Japan to lack sufficient financial strength for the protection of Japanese policyholders. In the near term, we do not expect these requirements to adversely affect the funds available for profit repatriations, nor do we expect these requirements to adversely affect the funds available for payments of allocated expenses to Aflac U.S. and management fees to the Parent Company. Upon conversion of Aflac Japan to a subsidiary structure, which we anticipate completing in mid-2018, the new subsidiary will distribute dividends instead of internal profit repatriation. Such dividends will be subject to permitted dividend capacity under the Japan Company Law.

The Japanese insurance industry has a policyholder protection corporation that provides funds for the policyholders of insolvent insurers. For additional information regarding the policyholder protection fund, see the Policyholder Protection subsection of MD&A in this report.
In June 2013, a revision to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act established a post-funded Orderly Resolution Regime for financial institutions to prevent a financial crisis in the event of a financial institution’s failure. This regime came into effect in March 2014 and has not had, and is not expected to have, a material impact on the Company's operations in Japan.

As a branch of our principal insurance subsidiary, Aflac Japan is also subject to regulation and supervision in the United States (see U.S. Regulation below). For additional information regarding Aflac Japan's operations and regulations, see the Aflac Japan Segment subsection of MD&A and Notes 2 and 13 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.


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U.S.
General
The Parent Company and its insurance subsidiaries, Aflac (a Nebraska-domiciled insurance company), American Family Life Assurance Company of New York (Aflac New York, a New York-domiciled insurance company) and CAIC (redomiciled from South Carolina to Nebraska effective December 2016) are subject to state regulations in the United States as an insurance holding company system. Such regulations generally provide that 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 material 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 is subject to regulation and supervision in the jurisdictions in which it does 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
capital 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. 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, the Parent Company) must generally file with the Nebraska Department of Insurance (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 the Parent Company's Aflac 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 Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), and the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) on their state domiciled insurance entities American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, American Family Life Assurance Company of New York, and Continental American Insurance Company, respectively. The NDOI and NYDFS exams covered a four-year period ending December 31, 2015, whereas the SCDOI exam covered a five-year period ending December 31, 2015. There were no material findings contained in the NDOI and SCDOI final exam report. The exam report from the NYDFS has not been finalized as of January 2017.

The NAIC continually reviews regulatory matters, such as risk-based capital (RBC) modernization and principles-based reserving, and recommends changes and revisions for adoption by state legislators and insurance departments. The NAIC uses a risk-based capital formula relating to insurance risk, business risk, asset risk and interest rate risk to

9



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 risk-based capital 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 risk-based capital 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. Aflac's NAIC risk-based capital ratio remains high and reflects a very strong capital and surplus position. As of December 31, 2016, based on year-end statutory accounting results, Aflac's company action level RBC ratio was 894%.

Under state insurance guaranty association laws and similar laws in international jurisdictions, we are subject to assessments, based on the share of business we write in the relevant jurisdiction, for certain obligations of insolvent insurance companies to policyholders and claimants. In the United States, 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. For additional information regarding state insurance guaranty assessments, see the U.S. Regulatory Environment subsection of MD&A in this report.

Reform Legislation

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. For example, the ACA, federal health care reform legislation, gave the U.S. federal government direct regulatory authority over the business of health insurance. The reform included major changes to the U.S. health care insurance marketplace. Among other changes, the reform legislation included an individual medical insurance coverage mandate, provided for penalties on certain employers for failing to provide adequate coverage, created health insurance exchanges, and addressed coverage and exclusions as well as medical loss ratios. It also imposed an excise tax on certain high cost plans, known as the “Cadillac tax,” that is currently scheduled to begin in 2020. The legislation also included changes in government reimbursements and tax credits for individuals and employers and alters federal and state regulation of health insurers. At this time it is unclear whether implementation of the ACA will continue. While the ACA was enacted in 2010, the major elements of the law became effective on January 1, 2014. We believe that the ACA, as enacted, does not require material changes in the design of our insurance products. However, indirect consequences of the legislation and regulations could present challenges and/or opportunities that could potentially have an impact on our sales model, financial condition and results of operations.

Dodd-Frank Act

Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act and regulations issued thereunder, in particular rules to require central clearing and collateral for certain types of derivatives, may have an impact on Aflac's derivative activity, including activity on behalf of Aflac Japan. In 2015 and 2016, six U.S. financial regulators, including the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), issued final rules that impose greater obligations on swap dealers regarding uncleared swaps with certain counterparties, such as Aflac. Such rules, as well as similar regulations in Europe, become effective on March 1, 2017 and may result in more stringent collateral requirements or affect other aspects of Aflac's derivatives activity.

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. Traditionally, U.S. insurance companies have been regulated primarily by state insurance departments. In December 2013, the FIO released a report entitled "How To Modernize And Improve The System Of Insurance Regulation In The United States." The report was required by the Dodd-Frank Act, and included 18 recommended areas of near-term reform for the states, including addressing capital adequacy and safety/soundness issues, reform of insurer resolution practices, and reform of marketplace regulation. The report also listed nine recommended areas for direct federal involvement in insurance regulation. Some of the recommendations outlined in the FIO report released in December 2013 have been implemented. The National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act, signed into law in January 2015, simplifies the agent and broker licensing process across state lines. The FIO has also engaged with the supervisory colleges to monitor financial stability and identify regulatory gaps for large national and internationally active insurers.

In the 115th Congress, several proposals have been introduced to reform the Dodd-Frank Act, including proposals to limit or repeal the Financial Stability Oversight Council's (the Council) ability to designate nonbank financial companies as

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Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFI), eliminate the FIO, and increase Congressional oversight of the regulation issuing process. The new presidential administration in the United States and Congress have stated proposals to reform or repeal certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. We cannot predict with any degree of certainty what impact, if any, such proposals will have on our U.S. business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Further Information

For further information concerning Aflac U.S. operations, regulation, change of control and dividend restrictions, see the Aflac U.S. Segment subsection of MD&A and Notes 2 and 13 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.

Other Operations
Our other operations include the Parent Company, results of reinsurance retrocession activities, and a printing subsidiary. For additional information on our other operations, see the Other Operations subsection of MD&A and Note 8 in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Employees
As of December 31, 2016, Aflac Japan had 4,958 employees, Aflac U.S. had 4,944 employees, and our other operations had 310 employees.

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Executive Officers of the Registrant
NAME
PRINCIPAL OCCUPATION(1)
AGE
Daniel P. Amos
Chairman, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2001; Chief Executive Officer, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 1990
65

 
 
 
Paul S. Amos II
President, Aflac, since 2007; Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Operations, Aflac, from 2006 until 2013
41

 
 
 
Koji Ariyoshi
Executive Vice President, Director of Sales and Marketing, Aflac Japan, since 2012
63

 
 
 
 
 
 
Kriss Cloninger III
President, Aflac Incorporated, since 2001; Chief Financial Officer, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, from 1992 until 2015; Treasurer, Aflac Incorporated, from 2001 until 2015; Executive Vice President, Aflac, since 1993
69

 
 
 
Frederick J. Crawford
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Aflac Incorporated, since 2015; Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, CNO Financial Group from 2012 until 2015; Executive Vice President, Head of Investment and Corporate Development, Lincoln Financial Group from 2010 until 2012
53

 
 
 
J. Todd Daniels
Executive Vice President, Chief Actuary, Aflac Incorporated, since 2016; Global Chief Risk Officer, Aflac Incorporated, since 2016; Senior Vice President, Chief Actuary, Aflac, from 2015 until 2016; Global Chief Risk Officer, Aflac, from 2014 until 2016; Senior Vice President, Deputy Corporate Actuary, Aflac, from 2012 until 2014; Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis, Aflac, from 2011 until 2012
46

 
 
 
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
50

 
 
 
Kenneth S. Janke
Executive Vice President, Corporate Finance and Development, Treasurer, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2015; Executive Vice President, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Aflac Incorporated, from 2010 until 2015; President, Aflac U.S., from 2013 until 2014
58

 
 
 
Eric M. Kirsch
Executive Vice President, Global Chief Investment Officer, Aflac, since 2012; First Senior Vice President, Global Chief Investment Officer, Aflac, from 2011 until 2012
56

 
 
 
Charles D. Lake II
President, Aflac International, since 2014; Chairman, Aflac Japan, since 2008
55

 
 
 
Audrey B. Tillman
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Aflac Incorporated and Aflac, since 2014; Executive Vice President, Corporate Services, Aflac Incorporated, from 2008 until 2014
52

 
 
 
Teresa L. White
President, Aflac U.S., since 2014; Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Aflac, from 2013 until 2014; Executive Vice President, Chief Service Officer, Aflac, from 2012 until 2013; Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Aflac, from 2008 until 2013
50

 
 
 
Robin Y. Wilkey
Senior Vice President, Investor and Rating Agency Relations, Aflac Incorporated, since 2010
58

 
 
 
Hiroshi Yamauchi
President, Chief Operating Officer, Aflac Japan, since 2015; Executive Vice President, Aflac Japan, from 2012 until 2014
65

(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.
    
 

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
We face a wide range of risks, and our continued success depends on our ability to identify, prioritize and appropriately manage our 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 us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also adversely affect our business. If any of the following risks and uncertainties develops into actual events, there could be a material impact on the Company.
Difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy could have a material adverse effect on our investments, capital position, revenue, profitability, and liquidity and harm our business.
Our results of operations are materially affected by conditions in the global capital markets and the global economy generally, including in our two primary operating markets of the United States and Japan. Weak global financial markets impact the value of our existing investment portfolio, influence opportunities for new investments, and may contribute to generally weak economic fundamentals, which can have a negative impact on our operating activities.

In recent years, global capital markets have been severely impacted by several major events. The financial crisis that began in the latter part of 2008 saw dramatic declines in investment values and weak economic conditions as the global financial system came under extreme pressure. Although U.S. markets began recovering in late 2009 and 2010, Europe continued to struggle under a severely weakened banking system and investor concerns with sovereign debt levels. Following a period of unprecedented intervention by governments and central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank (ECB), financial conditions improved from the dire conditions of the global financial crisis, global recession, and European debt crisis. Recently, global markets have experienced materially higher levels of market volatility due to concerns including changes in the market’s perception of global growth, additional ECB intervention, a British exit from the European Union (EU) (Brexit), uncertainty surrounding Japan’s continued recovery amidst assorted policy changes, significant declines in global commodity prices including oil, divergent monetary policies in the United States versus many other developed economies, a newly elected U.S. president, and heightened concerns surrounding the Chinese economy.

As we hold a significant amount of fixed maturity and perpetual securities issued by borrowers located in many different parts of the world, including a large portion issued by banks and financial institutions, sovereigns, and other corporate borrowers in the United States and Europe, our financial results are directly influenced by global financial markets. A retrenchment of the recent improvements in overall capital market health could adversely affect our financial condition, including our capital position and our 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.

Following the election of Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister of Japan in December 2012, the new administration adopted a new set of financial measures to stimulate the Japanese economy, including imposing negative interest rates on excess bank reserves. In a December 2014 snap-election, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a landslide victory, further strengthening Mr. Abe's ability to implement economic reform and address key policy challenges. The Japanese financial markets reacted with even lower rates on Japanese Government bonds, large increases in Japanese equity market values, and a weakening of the yen relative to the U.S. dollar. More recently, as the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has signaled to hold its policy rate at zero, the Japan Government Bond (JGB) yield curve has steepened producing higher rates on longer maturity Japanese Government bonds.

Japan is the largest market for our products and we own substantial holdings in JGBs. Government actions to stimulate the economy affect the value of our existing holdings, our reinvestment rate on new investments in JGBs or other yen denominated assets, and consumer behavior relative to our suite of products. The additional government debt from fiscal stimulus actions could contribute to a weakening of the Japan sovereign credit profile and result in further rating downgrades at the credit rating agencies. This could lead to additional volatility in Japanese capital and currency markets.


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Our investment portfolio owns sizeable credit positions in many other geographic areas of the world including the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and other emerging markets. Deterioration in their underlying economies, sovereign credit worthiness, or financial market conditions could negatively impact our financial position.

While we have continued to add floating rate investments to our investment portfolio, most of our investment portfolio holdings are income-producing bonds that provide a fixed level of income. Many of our investments were made at the relatively low level of interest rates prevailing the last several years. Any increase in the market yields of our holdings due to an increase in interest rates could create substantial unrealized losses in our portfolio, as discussed further in a separate risk factor in this section of the Form 10-K.

We need liquidity to pay our operating expenses, dividends on our common stock, interest on our debt and liabilities. For a further description of our liquidity needs, including maturing indebtedness, see Item 7 of this Form 10-K - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Capital Resources and Liquidity. In the event our current resources do not meet our needs, we may need to seek additional financing. Our access to additional funding will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit to the financial services industry and our credit rating.

Should investors become concerned with any of our investment holdings, including the concentration in JGBs, our access to market sources of funding could be negatively impacted. There is a possibility that lenders or debt investors may also become concerned if we incur large investment losses or if the level of our business activity decreases due to a market downturn or there are further adverse economic trends in the United States or Japan, specifically, or generally in developed markets. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating agencies take negative actions against us. See more information on recent rating actions later in this Risk Factors section.

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 our 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 ours 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 our customers to be less inclined to purchase supplemental insurance coverage or to decide to cancel or modify existing insurance coverage, which could adversely affect our premium revenue, results of operations and financial condition. We are unable to predict the course of the current recoveries in global financial markets or the recurrence, duration or severity of disruptions in such markets.

We are exposed to significant interest rate risk, which may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
We have substantial investment portfolios that support our policy liabilities. Low levels of interest rates on investments, such as those recently experienced in Japan and the United States, have reduced the level of investment income earned by the Company. Our overall level of investment income will be negatively impacted in a persistent low-interest-rate environment. While we generally seek to maintain a diversified portfolio of fixed-income investments that reflects the cash flow and duration characteristics of the liabilities it supports, we may not be able to fully mitigate the interest rate risk of our assets relative to our liabilities. Our 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 our products were priced and the related reserving assumptions were established. A sustained decline in interest rates could hinder our ability to earn the returns assumed in the pricing and the reserving for our products at the time they were sold and issued. Due to low interest rates, our ability to earn the returns we expect may also influence our ability to develop and price attractive new products and could impact our overall sales levels. Our first sector products are more interest rate sensitive than third sector products. The recent negative interest rate imposed by the Bank of Japan on excess bank reserves could have a negative impact on the distribution and pricing of these products.
A rise in interest rates could improve our ability to earn higher rates of return on future investments, as well as floating rate investments held in our investment portfolio. However, an increase in the differential of short-term U.S. and Japan interest rates would 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 our business, results of operations or financial condition.

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Changes in interest rates have a direct impact on the fair values of fixed securities in our investment portfolio; however, they do not have a direct impact on the related valuation of the corresponding liabilities. Prolonged periods of low interest rates, as have been experienced in recent years, heighten the risk of future increases in interest rates because an increasing proportion of our investment portfolio includes 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 our debt and perpetual securities. Some of the insurance products that Aflac sells in the United States and Japan provide cash surrender values. A rise in interest rates could trigger significant policy lapsation which might require the Company to sell investment assets and recognize unrealized losses. This situation is commonly referred to as disintermediation risk. We generally invest our assets to match the duration and cash flow characteristics of our policy liabilities, and therefore would not expect to realize most of these gains or losses, however, our risk is that unforeseen events or economic conditions, such as changes in interest rates resulting from governmental monetary policies, domestic and international economic and political conditions, and other factors beyond our control will reduce the effectiveness of this strategy. These events or economic conditions could either cause us to dispose of some or all of these investments prior to their maturity, or increase the risk that the issuers of these securities may default or may require impairment, which could result in our having to recognize such gains or losses.
Rising interest rates also negatively impact the SMR since unrealized losses on the available-for-sale investment portfolio factor into the ratio. For regulatory accounting purposes for Aflac Japan, there are certain requirements for realizing impairments that could be triggered by rising interest rates, negatively impacting Aflac Japan's earnings and corresponding repatriation and capital deployment.
Further, interest rate risk is still an inherent portfolio, business and capital risk for us, and significant changes in interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations, financial condition or cash flows through realized losses, impairments, changes in unrealized positions, and liquidity.

For more information regarding interest rate risk, see the Interest Rate Risk subsection within the Market Risks of Financial Instruments section of MD&A in this report.

Our concentration of business in Japan poses risks to our operations.
Our operations in Japan, including realized gains and losses on Aflac Japan's investment portfolio, accounted for 71% of our total revenues for 2016, compared with 70% in 2015 and 72% in 2014. The Japanese operations accounted for 83% of our total assets at both December 31, 2016 and 2015.

Further, because of the concentration of our business in Japan and our need for long-dated yen-denominated assets, we have a substantial concentration of JGBs in our investment portfolio. As such we have material exposure to the Japanese economy, geo-political climate, political regime, and other factors that generally determine a country's creditworthiness. Specifically, the nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs, or "rating agencies"), credit rating agencies registered with the SEC, have placed increased scrutiny on JGBs, which are a significant component of the Company’s overall investment portfolio, resulting in downgrades as discussed later in this Risk Factors section. The NAIC is also considering changes to investment risk factors. Any negative developments by the NRSROs or NAIC in these areas could result in increased capital requirements for the Company.

We seek to match the investment currency and interest rate risk to our yen liabilities. The low level of interest rates available on yen-denominated securities has a negative effect on our overall net investment income. A large portion of the cash available for reinvestment each year is deployed in yen-denominated instruments and subject to the low level of yen interest rates.

Any potential deterioration in Japan's credit quality, market access, the overall economy of Japan, or Japanese market volatility could adversely impact the business of Aflac in general and specifically Aflac Japan and our related results of operations and financial condition.

We are exposed to foreign currency fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate.

Due to the size of Aflac Japan, where our functional currency is the Japanese yen, fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate can have a significant effect on our reported financial position and results of operations. Aflac Japan's premiums and approximately half of its investment income are received in yen. Claims and most expenses are paid in yen, and we purchase yen-denominated assets and U.S. dollar-denominated assets, which may be hedged to yen, to

15



support yen-denominated policy liabilities. These and other yen-denominated financial statement items are, however, translated into dollars for financial reporting purposes. Accordingly, fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate can have a significant effect on our reported financial position and results of operations. In periods when the yen weakens, translating yen into dollars causes fewer dollars to be reported. When the yen strengthens, translating yen into dollars causes more dollars to be reported. Any unrealized foreign currency translation adjustments are reported in accumulated other comprehensive income. As a result, yen weakening has the effect of suppressing current year results in relation to the prior year, while yen strengthening has the effect of magnifying current year results in relation to the prior year. In addition, the weakening of the yen relative to the dollar will generally adversely affect the value of our yen-denominated investments in dollar terms. Foreign currency translation also impacts the computation of our risk-based capital ratio because Aflac Japan is consolidated in our U.S. statutory filings due to its status as a branch. Our required capital, as determined by the application of risk factors to our assets and liabilities, is proportionately more sensitive to changes in the exchange rate than our total adjusted capital. As a result, when the yen strengthens relative to the dollar, our RBC and SMR is suppressed. We engage in certain foreign currency hedging activities for the purpose of hedging the yen exposure to our net investment in our branch operations in Japan. These hedging activities are limited in scope and we cannot provide assurance that these activities will be effective.

Aflac Japan is exposed to further foreign exchange risk through its investment in unhedged U.S. dollar-denominated securities. When the yen strengthens, the unhedged U.S. dollar-denominated investments will experience unrealized foreign exchange losses, negatively impacting SMR. For regulatory accounting purposes for Aflac Japan, there are certain requirements for realizing impairments that could be triggered by changes in the yen/dollar exchange rate and could negatively impact Aflac Japan's earnings and the corresponding repatriation and capital deployment.

Additionally, we are exposed to economic currency risk when yen cash flows are converted into dollars, resulting in an increase or decrease in our earnings when exchange gains or losses are realized. This primarily occurs when we repatriate funds from Aflac Japan to Aflac U.S., but it also has an impact when yen cash is converted to U.S. dollars for investment into U.S. dollar-denominated assets (as described above). The exchange rates prevailing at the time of repatriation may differ from the exchange rates prevailing at the time the yen profits were earned. We engage in foreign currency hedging activities to mitigate the exposure to this foreign exchange risk.

For more information regarding foreign currency risk, see the Currency Risk subsection within the Market Risks of Financial Instruments section of MD&A in this report.

Failure to execute or implement the conversion of the Japan branch to a legal subsidiary could adversely affect our business, results of operations, or financial position.

The implementation of the Japan Branch conversion to a legal subsidiary is a complex undertaking and involves a number of risks, including additional costs, information technology-related delays and problems, personnel loss, regulatory law changes, legal and regulatory requirements, changes to our operations, and management distraction. Many aspects of these transactions are subject to regulatory approvals from a number of different jurisdictions. We may not obtain needed regulatory approvals in the timeframe anticipated or at all, which could delay or prevent us from realizing the anticipated benefits of this transaction. Changes to regulatory laws before the completion of the transaction could result in significant costs or reduction in capital. The transaction or the related regulatory approvals may entail modifications of certain aspects of our operations, which could result in additional costs or reduce net earnings. Any of these risks, if realized, could result in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

Lack of availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments could adversely affect our results of operations, financial position or liquidity.
We attempt to match both the duration and currency of our assets with our liabilities. This is very difficult for Aflac Japan due to the lack of available long-dated yen-denominated fixed income instruments.

Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the Company was focused on investing cash flows in JGBs, which had relatively low yields, and utilizing private placement and perpetual securities to gain additional yield, extend the duration of the investment portfolio, and maintain yen exposure. Given call activity, with respect to certain of the Company's legacy private placement investments, the Company has recently added a modest amount of yen-denominated private placements to its investment portfolio. The investment in private placements and legacy perpetual securities carries risk associated with illiquidity, which is managed and monitored by the Company.


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Starting in 2012, Aflac Japan augmented its investment strategy to include U.S. dollar-denominated investments which could then be hedged back to yen. Initially this program focused on public investment-grade bonds but has evolved over time to include U.S. dollar-denominated investment-grade commercial mortgage loans and infrastructure debt, high yield bonds, loan receivables and U.S. equity securities. As of December 31, 2016, Aflac Japan held approximately $22.4 billion in U.S. dollar-denominated investments, at amortized cost, and approximately $16.0 billion of notional in foreign currency forwards and options to hedge principal currency risk. We plan to continue adding other instruments denominated in U.S. dollars, including floating rate investments, to improve the portfolio diversification and/or return profile. Some of the U.S. dollar-denominated asset classes that we anticipate adding have less liquidity than investment-grade corporate bonds. These strategies will continue to increase our exposure to U.S. interest rates, credit spreads and other risks. We have increased foreign exchange risk exposure as the comprehensive hedging program may not always correlate to the underlying U.S. dollar-denominated assets, thereby increasing earnings volatility. These risks can significantly impact the Company's consolidated results of operations, financial position or liquidity.

If future policy benefits, claims or expenses exceed those anticipated in establishing premiums and reserves, our financial results would be adversely affected.

We establish and carry, as a liability, reserves based on estimates of how much will be required to pay for future benefits and claims. We calculate these reserves using various assumptions and estimates, including premiums we will receive over the assumed life of the policy; the timing, frequency and severity of the events covered by the insurance policy; and the investment returns on the assets we purchase with a portion of our net cash flow from operations. These assumptions and estimates are inherently uncertain. Accordingly, we cannot determine with precision the ultimate amounts that we will pay for, or the timing of payment of, actual benefits and claims or whether the assets supporting the policy liabilities will grow to the level we assume prior to payment of benefits or claims. If our actual experience is different from our assumptions or estimates, our reserves may prove inadequate. As a result, we would incur a charge to earnings in the period in which we determine such a shortfall exists, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The success of our business depends in part on effective information technology systems and on continuing to develop and implement improvements in technology.

Our business depends in large part on our technology systems for interacting with employers, policyholders, sales associates, and brokers, and our business strategy involves providing customers with easy-to-use products to meet their needs and ensuring employees have the technology in place to support those needs. Some of our information technology systems and software are older, legacy-type systems that are less efficient and require an ongoing commitment of significant resources to maintain or upgrade to current standards (including adequate business continuity procedures). We are in a continual state of upgrading and enhancing our business systems; however, these changes tend to challenge our complex integrated environment. Our success is dependent in large part on maintaining or improving the effectiveness of existing systems and continuing to develop and enhance information systems that support our business processes in a cost-efficient manner. If we do not maintain the effectiveness of our systems, our operations and reputation could be adversely affected and we could be exposed to litigation as well as to regulatory proceedings and fines or penalties.

The effect that governmental actions for the purpose of stabilizing the financial markets will have on such markets generally, or on us specifically, is difficult to determine at this time.
In response to the severity of the global financial crisis, numerous regulatory and governmental actions were taken to address weakness in the banking system, volatility in capital market conditions, and to stimulate the global economy. In the United States, this included aggressive expansionary monetary policy actions by the Federal Reserve, including conventional measures such as reducing the Federal Funds rate to near zero, and less conventional measures such as multiple rounds of quantitative easing. The result of the actions of the Federal Reserve was to keep interest rates, as measured by the U.S. Treasury curve and other relevant market rates, at very low levels for an extended period of time in an attempt to stimulate the economy.

As the U.S. economy has continued to improve, the Federal Reserve has reduced the amount of monetary stimulus. The actions previously taken by the Federal Reserve, and the amounts involved, are unprecedented. As such, there exist considerable risks associated with the amount of monetary stimulus provided and its withdrawal. These risks could include heightened inflation, increased volatility of interest rates, significantly higher interest rates, and overall increased volatility in the fair value of investment securities. These factors could negatively impact our business by reducing the value of our existing portfolio, negatively impacting our opportunities for new investments as market volatility increases, increasing the risk of depressed bond valuations or defaults in our credit portfolio, increasing the costs to hedge certain

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dollar holdings into yen, and reducing the demand for our products should the broader economy be negatively impacted by withdrawal of monetary stimulus.

The financial crisis also resulted in new government regulation, including the Dodd-Frank Act. This significant legislation, intended to reduce risk of another crisis, contains multiple provisions that could impact our business as rules are finalized and implemented. While it is difficult to isolate the impact of Dodd Frank from other government and central bank actions and general market conditions since the financial crisis, we believe that the Dodd-Frank Act, in particular bank capital requirements, limits on proprietary trading and derivatives regulation, has affected the value of our holdings in banks and other financial institutions, and impacted pricing, liquidity, and our general ability to conduct financial and capital market transactions. The process of implementing the Dodd-Frank Act is ongoing and continues to involve additional rulemaking from time to time. The new presidential administration in the United States and Congress have stated proposals to reform or repeal certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. We cannot predict with any degree of certainty what impact, if any, the Dodd-Frank Act will have on our U.S. business, financial condition, or results of operations, particularly given the election of a new U.S. president in November 2016.

As the effects of the financial crisis continue to linger, other central banks around the world have followed the actions of the Federal Reserve and taken unprecedented actions. In the case of the ECB, multiple actions were taken to mitigate the European sovereign and banking crisis, and to stimulate the economies throughout the Eurozone. The Bank of Japan has undertaken monetary policy actions designed to stimulate the Japanese economy. These governmental interventions are still being deployed in the form of extremely low short-term interest rates and asset purchases, and thus may continue to support an environment of historically low or negative interest rates in the near to medium term. There can be no assurance as to the effect that these governmental actions, other governmental actions taken in the future, or the ceasing of these governmental actions will have on the financial markets generally, the economies in which we operate, our competitive position, or our business and financial condition.

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, could harm our business.

We depend heavily on our telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems and on the integrity and timeliness of data we use to run our businesses and service our customers. These systems may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of events or circumstances wholly or partly beyond our control. Despite our implementation of a variety of security measures, our information technology and other systems could be subject to physical or electronic break-ins, unauthorized tampering, security breaches or other cyber-attacks, resulting in a failure to maintain the security, confidentiality or privacy of sensitive data, including personal information relating to customers, or in the misappropriation of our intellectual property or proprietary information. Although the minor data leakage issues we have experienced to date have not had a material effect on our business, 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, whether due to actions by us or others, could delay or disrupt our ability to do business and service our customers, harm our reputation, subject us to regulatory sanctions and other claims, lead to a loss of customers and revenues and otherwise adversely affect our business. In addition, the costs to address or remediate system interruptions or security threats and vulnerabilities, whether before or after an incident, could be significant. While we continue to invest in the infrastructure of our data security programs, we have been, and will likely continue to be, the target of unauthorized access, cyber-attacks, computer viruses or other malicious codes, or other computer-related penetrations.

We operate in an industry that is subject to ongoing changes.
We operate in a competitive environment and in an industry that is subject to ongoing changes from market pressures brought about by customer demands, legislative reform, marketing practices and changes to health care and health insurance delivery. These factors require us to anticipate market trends and make changes to differentiate our products and services from those of our competitors. We also face the potential of competition from existing or new companies in the United States and Japan that have not historically been active in the supplemental health insurance industry but some of which have greater financial, marketing and management resources than we do. Failure to anticipate market trends and/or to differentiate our products and services can affect our ability to retain or grow profitable lines of business.

Further, as employers and brokers are increasingly requesting a full-suite of products from one insurance provider, a failure to react and adapt to these demands could result in decreased sales or market share. Similarly, a failure to meet evolving customer demands through innovative product development, effective distribution channels, and continuous

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investment in our technology could result in lower revenues and less favorable policy terms and conditions, which could adversely affect our operating results.

If we fail to comply with restrictions on patient privacy and information security, including taking steps to ensure that our third-party service providers and business associates who access, store, process or transmit sensitive patient information maintain its security, integrity, confidentiality and availability, our reputation and business operations could be materially adversely affected.

The collection, maintenance, use, protection, disclosure and disposal of individually identifiable data by our 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 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). HIPAA also requires that we impose privacy and security requirements on our business associates (as such term is defined in the HIPAA regulations). 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.
Even though we provide for appropriate protections through our contracts and perform information security risk assessments of our third-party service providers and business associates, we still have limited control over their actions and practices. In addition, despite the security measures we have in place to ensure compliance with applicable laws and rules, our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party providers may be vulnerable to security breaches, acts of vandalism or theft, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming and/or human errors or other similar events. The U.S. Congress and many states are considering new privacy and security requirements that would apply to our business. Compliance with new privacy and security laws, requirements, and new regulations may result in cost increases due to necessary systems changes, new limitations or constraints on our business models, the development of new administrative processes, and the effects of potential noncompliance by our business associates. They also may impose further restrictions on our collection, disclosure and use of patient identifiable data that are housed in one or more of our administrative databases. Noncompliance with any privacy laws or any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss, theft or other unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential member information, whether by us or by one of our third parties, could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation and results of operations, including: material fines and penalties; compensatory, special, punitive and statutory damages; consent orders regarding our privacy and security practices; adverse actions against our licenses to do business; and injunctive relief.
In addition, under Japanese laws and regulations, including the APPI, if a leak or loss of personal information by Aflac Japan or its business associates should occur, depending on factors such as the volume of personal data involved and the likelihood of other secondary damage, Aflac Japan may be required to file reports to the FSA; issue public releases explaining such incident to the public; or become subject to an FSA business improvement order, which could pose a risk to our reputation.

Extensive regulation and changes in legislation can impact profitability and growth.

Aflac's insurance subsidiaries are subject to complex laws and regulations that are administered and enforced by a number of governmental authorities, including state insurance regulators, the SEC, the NAIC, the FIO, the FSA and Ministry of Finance (MOF) in Japan, the U.S. Department of Justice, state attorneys general, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service, each of which exercises a degree of interpretive latitude. In addition, proposals regarding the global regulation of insurance are under discussion. Consequently, we are subject to the risk that compliance with any particular regulator's or enforcement authority's interpretation of a legal or regulatory issue may not result in compliance with another regulator's or enforcement authority's interpretation of the same issue, particularly when compliance is judged in hindsight. There is also a risk that any particular regulator's or enforcement authority's interpretation of a legal or regulatory issue may change over time to our detriment. In addition, changes in the overall legal or regulatory environment may, even absent any particular regulator's or enforcement authority's interpretation of an issue changing, cause us to change our views regarding the actions we need to take from a legal or regulatory risk management perspective, thus necessitating changes to our practices that may, in some cases, limit our ability to grow or otherwise negatively impact the profitability of our business.


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The primary purpose of insurance company regulatory supervision is the protection of insurance policyholders, rather than investors. The extent of regulation varies, but generally is governed by state statutes in the United States and by the FSA and the MOF in Japan. These systems of supervision and regulation cover, among other things:

standards of establishing and setting premium rates and the approval thereof
standards of minimum capital and reserve requirements and solvency margins, including risk-based capital measures
restrictions on, limitations on and required approval of certain transactions between our insurance subsidiaries and their affiliates, including management fee arrangements
restrictions on the nature, quality and concentration of investments
restrictions on the types of terms and conditions that we can include in the insurance policies offered by our primary insurance operations
limitations on the amount of dividends that insurance subsidiaries can pay or foreign profits that can be repatriated
the existence and licensing status of a company under circumstances where it is not writing new or renewal business
certain required methods of accounting
reserves for unearned premiums, losses and other purposes
assignment of residual market business and potential assessments for the provision of funds necessary for the settlement of covered claims under certain policies provided by impaired, insolvent or failed insurance companies
administrative practices requirements
imposition of fines and other sanctions
Regulatory authorities periodically re-examine existing laws and regulations applicable to insurance companies and their products. Changes in these laws and regulations, or in interpretations thereof, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. This risk is particularly relevant in 2017 as a new presidential administration begins in the United States which has expressed interest in making significant changes in specific areas of the regulatory landscape in the United States.

Various forms of federal oversight and regulation of insurance were signed into law by the prior administration. For example, the ACA gave the U.S. federal government direct regulatory authority over the business of health insurance and made significant changes to the U.S. health care insurance marketplace, including the imposition of an individual medical insurance coverage mandate, penalties on certain employers for failing to provide adequate coverage, the creation of health insurance exchanges, and proscriptions regarding coverage and exclusions as well as medical loss ratios. The legislation also includes changes in government reimbursements and tax credits for individuals and employers and alters federal and state regulation of health insurers. These changes, directed toward major medical health insurance coverage that Aflac does not offer, may or may not continue to be implemented over the next several years in light of the commencement of a new U.S. presidential administration in January 2017. We believe that the ACA, as currently in force, will not require us to materially change the design of our insurance products. However, indirect consequences of the continuation, modification or partial or full repeal of the legislation and regulations could present challenges and/or opportunities that could potentially have an impact on our sales model, financial condition and results of operations.

The process of implementing the Dodd-Frank Act is ongoing and continues to involve additional rulemaking from time to time. The new presidential administration in the United States and Congress have stated proposals to reform or repeal certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. We cannot predict with any degree of certainty what impact, if any, the Dodd-Frank Act will have on our U.S. business, financial condition, or results of operations, particularly given the election of a new U.S. president in November 2016.

Changes in domestic or foreign tax laws or interpretations of such laws could increase our corporate taxes and reduce our earnings. Additionally, global budget deficits make it likely that governments’ need for additional revenue will result in future tax proposals that will increase our effective tax rate. However, it remains difficult to predict the timing and effect that future tax law changes could have on our earnings both in the United States and in foreign jurisdictions, particularly in light of the election of a new U.S. president in November 2016.
Compliance with applicable laws and regulations is time consuming and personnel-intensive, and changes in these laws and regulations may materially increase our direct and indirect compliance and other expenses of doing business, thus having a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.


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Defaults, downgrades, widening credit spreads or other events impairing the value of the fixed maturity securities, perpetual securities and loan receivables in our investment portfolio may reduce our earnings and capital position.
We are subject to the risk that the issuers and/or guarantors of fixed maturity securities, perpetual securities and loan receivables we own may default on principal or interest. A significant portion of our portfolio represents an unsecured obligation of the issuer, including some that are 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 our 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 our securities including contractual protections such as financial covenants or relative position in the issuer's capital structure also influence the value of our holdings.

Most of our investments carry a rating by one or more of the NRSROs. Any change in the rating agencies' approach to evaluating credit and assigning an opinion could negatively impact the fair value of our portfolio. We employ a team of credit analysts to monitor the creditworthiness of the issuers in our portfolio. Any credit-related declines in the fair value of positions held in our portfolio we believe are not temporary in nature will negatively impact our net income and capital position through impairment and other credit related losses. These losses would also affect our solvency ratios in the United States 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 repatriation and capital deployment.

We are also subject to the risk that any collateral providing credit enhancement to our positions could deteriorate. These instruments may include senior secured first lien loans, such as commercial mortgage loans, bank loans, middle market loans, and loan-backed securities where the underlying loan or collateral notes may default on principal, interest, or other payments, causing an adverse change in cash flows to the positions held in our investment portfolio.

Our portfolio includes holdings of perpetual securities. Most of these are issued by global banks and financial institutions. Following the financial crisis, rating agencies reviewed and, in most cases, modified the rating criteria for financial institutions. This has caused multiple downgrades of many bank and financial issuers, but perpetual securities have been more negatively impacted as their lower position in the capital structure represents relatively more risk than other more senior obligations of the issuer. Further downgrades or default of issuers of securities we own will have a negative impact on our portfolio and could reduce our earnings and capital.

We are exposed to sovereign credit risk through instruments issued directly by governments and government entities as well as banks and other institutions that rely in part on the strength of the underlying government for their credit quality. In addition to the United States and Japan, many governments, especially in Europe, have been subject to rating downgrades due to the need for fiscal and budgetary remediation and structural reforms, reduced economic activity, and investment needed to support banks or other systemically important entities. Additional downgrades or default of our sovereign issuers will have a negative impact on our portfolio and could reduce our earnings and capital.

In addition to our exposure to the underlying fundamental credit strength of the issuers of our fixed maturity and perpetual securities and the underlying risk of default, we are also exposed to the general movement in credit market spreads. A widening of credit spreads could reduce the value of our existing portfolio, create unrealized losses on our investment portfolio, and reduce our adjusted capital position which is used in determining the SMR in Japan. This widening of credit spreads could, however, increase the net investment income on new credit investments. Conversely, a tightening of credit spreads could increase the value of our existing portfolio and create unrealized gains on our investment portfolio. This tightening of credit spreads could also reduce the net investment income available to us on new credit investments. Increased market volatility also makes it difficult to value certain of our investment holdings (see the Critical Accounting Estimates section in Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis, of this Form 10-K).

As a result of the large decline in oil prices in early 2016 and subsequent price volatility, there has been heightened attention to certain investments in the various energy sectors. Our portfolio includes holdings diversified across multiple sub-sectors of the oil and gas industry, spread among multiple geographies.


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As of December 31, 2016, the weighted-average rating of our total fixed maturity securities energy exposure was BBB, and 88% of our exposure to the oil and gas industry was investment grade. Market volatility surrounding these issuers could lead to increased negative ratings activity from the public rating agencies for energy credit issuers. We do not currently expect our investments in the energy sector to have a material impact on our results of operations.

For more information regarding credit risk, see the Market Risks of Financial Instruments - Credit Risk subsection of Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis, of this Form 10-K.

Sales of our products and services are dependent on our ability to attract, retain and support a network of qualified sales associates in the United States.
Our sales could be adversely affected if our sales networks deteriorate or if we do not adequately provide support, training and education for our existing network. Competition exists for sales associates with demonstrated ability. We compete with other insurers and financial institutions primarily on the basis of our products, compensation, support services and financial rating. An inability to attract and retain qualified sales associates could have a material adverse effect on sales and our results of operations and financial condition. Our sales associates are independent contractors and may sell products of our competitors. If our competitors offer products that are more attractive than ours, or pay higher commissions than we do, these sales associates may concentrate their efforts on selling our competitors' products instead of ours. In addition to our commissioned sales force, Aflac has expanded its sales leadership team to include a salaried sales force of over 175 market directors and broker sales professionals. Our ability to attract and retain top talent in these salaried roles has a material impact on our sales success.
A decline in the creditworthiness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.

We have exposure to and routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including broker dealers, derivative counterparties, commercial banks and other institutions.

We use derivative instruments to mitigate various risks associated with our investment portfolio, notes payable, and profit repatriation. We enter into a variety of agreements involving assorted instruments including foreign currency forward contracts, foreign currency options, foreign currency and interest rate swaps, and options on interest rate swaps (or interest rate swaptions). To provide additional alternatives to increase our overall portfolio yield while managing our overall currency risk, starting in 2012, we have invested a significant portion of the investable cash flow generated by Aflac Japan into U.S. dollar-denominated investments and hedged these investments to yen through the use of currency forward and option contracts. The derivative forward and option contracts are of a shorter maturity than the hedged investments, which creates roll-over risks within the hedging program. Due to changes in market environments, there is a risk the hedges become ineffective and lose the corresponding hedge accounting treatment. At December 31, 2016, we held foreign currency forwards and options of approximately $16.0 billion of notional associated with Aflac Japan's U.S. dollar-denominated investments referenced above, foreign currency swaps of $3.7 billion of notional associated with our notes payable, and foreign currency forwards and options of approximately $1.1 billion of notional used to economically hedge profit repatriation. The Company's increased use of derivatives has increased our financial exposure to derivative counterparties. To mitigate counterparty exposure, we have established internal limits based on counterparties' credit ratings. Our internal limits include deposit and derivative exposure that we monitor on a daily basis. If our counterparties fail or refuse to honor their obligations under derivative instruments, our hedges of the risks will be ineffective.

We engage in derivative transactions directly with unaffiliated third parties under International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) agreements and other documentation. Most of the ISDA agreements also include Credit Support Annexes (CSAs) provisions, which generally provide for two-way collateral postings at the first dollar of exposure. We mitigate the risk that counterparties to transactions might be unable to fulfill their contractual obligations by monitoring counterparty credit exposure and collateral value while generally requiring that collateral be posted at the outset of the transaction. In addition, a significant portion of the derivative transactions have provisions that give the counterparty the right to terminate the transaction upon a downgrade of Aflac’s financial strength rating. The actual amount of payments that we could be required to make, depends on market conditions, the fair value of outstanding affected transactions, and other factors prevailing at and after the time of the downgrade. If the Company is required to post collateral to support derivative contracts and/or pay cash to settle the contracts at maturity, the Company's liquidity could be strained.

Further, we have agreements with various financial institutions for the distribution of our insurance products. For example, at December 31, 2016, we had agreements with 372 banks to market Aflac's products in Japan. Sales through

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these banks represented 8.9% of Aflac Japan's new annualized premium sales in 2016. Any material adverse effect on these or other financial institutions could also have an adverse effect on our sales.
The Company has entered into significant reinsurance transactions with large, highly rated counterparties. Negative events or developments affecting any one of these counterparties could have an adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
All of these risks related to exposure to other financial institutions could adversely impact our consolidated results of operations and financial condition.

As a holding company, the Parent Company depends on the ability of its subsidiaries to transfer funds to it to meet its debt service and other obligations and to pay dividends on its common stock.
The Parent Company is a holding company and has no direct operations or significant assets other than the stock of its subsidiaries. Because we conduct our operations through our operating subsidiaries, we depend on those entities for dividends and other payments to generate the funds necessary to meet our debt service and other obligations and to pay dividends on our common stock. Aflac is domiciled in Nebraska and is subject to insurance regulations that impose certain limitations and restrictions on payments of dividends, management fees, loans and advances by Aflac to the Parent Company. The Nebraska insurance statutes require prior approval for dividend distributions that exceed the greater of the net income from operations, which excludes net realized investment gains, for the previous year determined under statutory accounting principles, or 10% of statutory capital and surplus as of the previous year-end. In addition, the Nebraska insurance department must approve service arrangements and other transactions within the affiliated group of companies. In addition, the FSA may not allow profit repatriations or other transfers from Aflac Japan if they would cause Aflac Japan to lack sufficient financial strength for the protection of Japanese policyholders.
The ability of Aflac to pay dividends or make other payments to the Parent Company could also be constrained by our dependence on financial strength ratings from independent rating agencies. Our ratings from these agencies depend to a large extent on Aflac's capitalization level. Any inability of Aflac to pay dividends or make other payments to the Parent Company could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. There is no assurance that the earnings from, or other available assets of, our operating subsidiaries will be sufficient to make distributions to enable us to operate.
Any decrease in our financial strength or debt ratings may have an adverse effect on our competitive position and access to liquidity and capital.

Financial strength ratings can play an important role in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies. On an ongoing basis, NRSROs review the financial performance and condition of many insurers, including Aflac and our competitors. They may assign multiple ratings including a financial strength rating, reflecting their view of the insurer’s ability to pay claims on a timely basis, and ratings on an insurer’s senior and subordinated debt obligations, indicating their view of an insurer’s ability to make timely payments on their debt obligations.

NRSROs may change their ratings or outlook on an insurer's ratings due to a variety of factors including the NRSRO’s assessment of the insurer’s strength of operations and overall financial condition. Some factors that may influence ratings include competitive position; profitability; cash generation and other sources of liquidity; capital levels; quality of the investment portfolio; and perception of management capabilities. The ratings assigned to us by the NRSROs are important factors in our ability to access liquidity and capital from the bank market, debt capital markets or other available sources, such as reinsurance transactions. Downgrades to our credit ratings could give our derivative counterparties the right to require early termination of derivatives transactions or delivery of additional collateral, thereby adversely affecting our liquidity.

In view of the difficulties experienced after the financial crisis by many financial institutions, including those in the insurance industry, the NRSROs have heightened the level of scrutiny that they apply to such institutions. Steps taken by the NRSROs include an increase in the frequency and scope of their reviews, additional information requests from the companies that they rate, including additional information regarding the valuation of investment securities held, and, in certain cases, an increase in the capital and other requirements employed in their models for maintenance of certain rating levels.


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On September 16, 2015, S&P downgraded their credit rating of Japan’s sovereign debt. Following this action, they also downgraded several other foreign insurers, including Aflac. Although we are a U.S.-based insurer, our significant operations in Japan and corresponding regulation by the Japanese FSA, combined with our significant exposure to JGBs as outlined above, resulted in S&P downgrading the financial strength rating of our core insurance operations to A+ and our senior debt rating to A-, both with a stable outlook. While S&P made no further downgrades to our ratings in 2016, they have stated in the past that a downgrade of Japan's sovereign rating could lead to a downgrade of our financial strength rating. As a matter of policy, S&P rarely rates insurance companies above the sovereign long-term rating of the country of domicile because during times of stress, the sovereign’s regulatory and supervisory powers may restrict an insurer’s or financial system’s flexibility.

In addition to the impact on our access to liquidity, as mentioned above, a downgrade of our ratings could have a material adverse effect on agent recruiting and retention, sales, competitiveness and the marketability of our products which could negatively impact our liquidity, operating results and financial condition. Additionally, sales through the bank channel in Japan could be adversely affected as a result of their reliance and sensitivity to ratings levels.

We cannot predict what actions rating agencies may take, or what actions we may take in response to the actions of rating agencies, which could adversely affect our business. As with other companies in the financial services industry, our ratings could be downgraded at any time and without any notice by any NRSRO.

Our risk management policies and procedures may prove to be ineffective and leave us exposed to unidentified or unanticipated risk, which could adversely affect our businesses or result in losses.

We have developed an enterprise-wide risk management and governance framework to mitigate risk and loss to the Company. We maintain policies, procedures and controls intended to identify, measure, monitor, report and analyze the risks to which the Company is exposed.
However, there are inherent limitations to risk management strategies because there may exist, or develop in the future, risks that we have not appropriately anticipated or identified. If our risk management framework proves ineffective, the Company may suffer unexpected losses and could be materially adversely affected. As our businesses change and the markets in which we operate evolve, our risk management framework may not evolve at the same pace as those changes. As a result, there is a risk that new products or new business strategies may present risks that are not appropriately identified, monitored or managed. In times of market stress, unanticipated market movements or unanticipated claims experience resulting from greater than expected morbidity, mortality, longevity, or persistency, the effectiveness of our risk management strategies may be limited, resulting in losses to the Company. In addition, under difficult or less liquid market conditions, our risk management strategies may not be effective because other market participants may be using the same or similar strategies to manage risk under the same challenging market conditions. In such circumstances, it may be difficult or more expensive for the Company to mitigate risk due to the activity of such other market participants.
Many of our risk management strategies or techniques are based upon historical customer and market behavior and all such strategies and techniques are based to some degree on management’s subjective judgment. We cannot provide assurance that our risk management framework, including the underlying assumptions or strategies, will be accurate and effective.
Management of operational, legal and regulatory risks requires, among other things, policies, procedures and controls to record properly and verify a large number of transactions and events, and these policies, procedures and controls may not be fully effective. Models are utilized by our businesses and corporate areas primarily to project future cash flows associated with pricing products, calculating reserves and valuing assets, as well as in evaluating risk and determining capital requirements, among other uses. These models are utilized under a risk management policy approved by our executive risk management committees, however, the models may not operate properly and rely on assumptions and projections that are inherently uncertain. As our businesses continue to grow and evolve, the number and complexity of models we utilize expands, increasing our exposure to error in the design, implementation or use of models, including the associated input data and assumptions.
Past or future misconduct by our employees or employees of our third parties (suppliers which are cost-based relationships and alliance partners which are revenue-generating relationships) could result in violations of law by us, regulatory sanctions and/or serious reputational or financial harm and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. Despite our published Supplier Code of Conduct, due diligence of our alliance

24



partners, and rigorous contracting procedures (including financial, legal, IT security, and risk reviews), there can be no assurance that controls and procedures that we employ, which are designed to assess third party viability and prevent us from taking excessive or inappropriate risks, will be effective. We review our supplier cost structures and alliance compensation policies and practices as part of our overall risk management program, but it is possible that these cost structures and forms of compensation could inadvertently incentivize excessive or inappropriate risk taking. If our third parties take excessive or inappropriate risks, those risks could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.
The concentration of our investment portfolios in any particular single-issuer or sector of the economy may have an adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
Negative events or developments affecting any particular single issuer, industry, group of related industries or geographic sector may have an adverse impact on a particular holding or set of holdings. We seek to minimize this risk by maintaining an appropriate level of diversification. To the extent we have concentrated positions, it could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position. Our global investment guidelines establish concentration limits for our investment portfolios.

At December 31, 2016, we held approximately $42.9 billion at amortized cost, or 42.4% of our total debt and perpetual securities, in JGBs. JGBs were rated A1/A+/A at December 31, 2016 by Moody's, S&P and Fitch, respectively. At December 31, 2016, 10% of our total portfolio of debt and perpetual securities was in the bank and financial institution sector. For further details on the concentrations within our investment portfolios, see the Analysis of Financial Condition section of MD&A in this report.

The valuation of our investments and derivatives includes methodologies, estimations and assumptions which are subject to differing interpretations and could result in changes to investment valuations that may adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.
We report a significant amount of our fixed maturity securities and other financial instruments at fair value. As such, valuations may include inputs and assumptions that are less observable or require greater estimation as well as valuation methods which are more sophisticated, thereby resulting in values which may be greater or less than the value at which the investments may be ultimately sold. Rapidly changing and unprecedented credit and equity market conditions could materially impact the valuation of securities as reported within our consolidated financial statements and the period-to-period changes in value could vary significantly.

Valuations of our derivatives fluctuate with changes in underlying market variables, such as interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. During periods of market turbulence created by political instability, economic uncertainty, government interventions or other factors, we may experience significant changes in the volatility of our derivative valuations. Extreme market conditions can also affect the liquidity of such instruments creating marked differences in transaction levels and counterparty valuations. Depending on the severity and direction of the movements in its derivative valuations, the Company will face increases in the amount of collateral required to be posted with its counterparties. Liquidity stresses to the Company may also occur if the required collateral amounts increase significantly over a very short period of time. Conversely, the Company may be exposed to an increase in counterparty credit risk for short periods of time while calling collateral from its counterparties.

For further discussion on investment and derivative valuations, see the Critical Accounting Estimates section in Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis, and Notes 1, 3, 4, and 5 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this Form 10-K.

Managing key executive succession is critical to our success.
We would be adversely affected if we fail to adequately plan for succession of our senior management and other key executives. While we have succession plans and employment arrangements with certain key executives, these plans cannot guarantee that the services of these executives will be available to us, and our operations could be adversely affected if they are not.

The determination of the amount of impairments taken on our investments is based on significant valuation judgments and could materially impact our results of operations or financial position.

25



An investment in a fixed maturity, perpetual or equity security is impaired if the fair value falls below book value. We regularly review our entire investment portfolio for declines in value. The majority of our investments are evaluated for other-than-temporary impairment using our debt impairment model, while our investments in equities and below-investment-grade perpetual securities are evaluated using our equity impairment model.
Our debt impairment model includes emphasis on the ultimate collection of the cash flows from our investments. The determination of the amount of impairments under this model is based upon our periodic evaluation and assessment of known and inherent risks associated with the respective securities. Such evaluations and assessments are revised as conditions change and new information becomes available.
For our fixed maturity and perpetual securities reported in the available-for-sale portfolio, we report the investments at fair value in the statement of financial condition and record any unrealized gain or loss in the value of the asset in accumulated other comprehensive income. For our held-to-maturity securities portfolio, we report the investments at amortized cost. Under the debt impairment model, the determination of whether an impairment in value is other than temporary is based largely on our evaluation of the issuer's creditworthiness. We must apply considerable judgment in determining the likelihood of the security recovering in value while we own it. Factors that may influence this include our assessment of the issuer’s ability to continue making timely payments of interest and principal, the overall level of interest rates and credit spreads, and other factors. We also verify whether we have the intent to sell or if it is more likely than not we would be required to sell the security prior to recovery of its amortized cost. If we determine it is unlikely we will recover our book value of the instrument prior to our disposal of the security, we will reduce the carrying value of the security to its fair value and recognize any associated impairment loss in our consolidated statement of earnings or other comprehensive income, depending on the nature of the loss.
Our investments in perpetual securities that are rated below investment grade and equity securities are evaluated for other-than-temporary impairment under our equity impairment model. This impairment model focuses on the severity of a security's decline in fair value coupled with the length of time the fair value of the security has been below cost or amortized cost and the financial condition and near-term prospects of the issuer. For equity securities, we also verify our intent to hold the securities until they recover in value.
For regulatory accounting purposes for Aflac Japan, there are certain requirements for realizing impairments that could be triggered by rising interest rates or credit-related losses, negatively impacting Aflac Japan's earnings and corresponding repatriation and capital deployment.
Our management updates its evaluations regularly as conditions change and as new information becomes available and reflects impairment losses in the Company's income statement when considered necessary. Furthermore, additional impairments may need to be taken in the future. Historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments.

Catastrophic events could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Our insurance operations are exposed to the risk of catastrophic events including, but not necessarily limited to, epidemics, pandemics, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and acts of terrorism. The extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in the area affected by the event and the severity of the event. Certain events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and man-made catastrophes could cause substantial damage or loss of life in larger areas, especially those that are heavily populated. Claims resulting from natural or man−made catastrophic events could cause substantial volatility in our financial results for any fiscal quarter or year and could materially reduce our profitability or harm our financial condition, as well as affect our ability to write new business.

Changes in accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standard Boards (FASB) or other standard-setting bodies may adversely affect our financial statements.
Our financial statements are subject to the application of generally accepted accounting principles in both the United States and Japan, which are periodically revised and/or expanded. Accordingly, from time to time we are required to adopt new or revised accounting standards issued by recognized authoritative bodies, including the FASB. It is possible that future accounting standards we are required to adopt could change the current accounting treatment that we apply to our consolidated financial statements and that such changes could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. During the last three years, various accounting standard-setting bodies have been active in soliciting comments and issuing statements, interpretations and exposure drafts. For information on new accounting

26



pronouncements and the impact, if any, on our financial position or results of operations, see Note 1 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.
Events, including those external to our operations, could damage our reputation.
Because insurance products are intangible, we rely to a large extent on consumer trust in our business. The perception of financial weakness could create doubt regarding our ability to honor the commitments we have made to our policyholders. Maintaining our stature as a responsible corporate citizen, which helps support the strength of our unique brand, is critical to our reputation and the failure or perceived failure to do so could adversely affect us.

Changes in our discount rate, expected rate of return, life expectancy, health care cost and expected compensation increase assumptions for our pension and other postretirement benefit plans may result in increased expenses and reduce our profitability.

We determine our pension and other postretirement benefit plan costs based on assumed discount rates, expected rates of return on plan assets, life expectancy of plan participants and expected increases in compensation levels and trends in health care costs. Changes in these assumptions, including from the impact of a sustained low interest rate environment, may result in increased expenses and reduce our profitability.

We face risks related to litigation.

We are a defendant in various lawsuits considered to be in the normal course of business. Members of our senior legal and financial management teams review litigation on a quarterly and annual basis. The final results of any litigation cannot be predicted with certainty. Although some of this litigation is pending in states where large punitive damages, bearing little relation to the actual damages sustained by plaintiffs, have been awarded in recent years, we believe the outcome of pending litigation will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations, or cash flows. However, litigation could adversely affect us because of the costs of defending these cases, costs of settlement or judgments against us or because of changes in our operations that could result from litigation.
We also face other risks that could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition, which include:

any requirement to restate financial results in the event of inappropriate application of accounting principles
failure to appropriately maintain controls over models used to generate significant inputs to the Company’s financial statements
a significant failure of internal controls over financial reporting
failure of our prevention and control systems related to employee compliance with internal policies and regulatory requirements
failure of corporate governance policies and procedures

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

In the United States, Aflac owns land and buildings that comprise two primary campuses located in Columbus, Georgia. These campuses include buildings that serve as our worldwide headquarters and house administrative support and information technology functions for our U.S. operations. Aflac leases office space in Columbia, South Carolina, which houses our CAIC subsidiary. Aflac leases office space in New York that houses our Global Investment division. Aflac leases administrative office space in Georgia, South Carolina, New York, Nebraska, and in 39 additional states throughout the United States, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
In Tokyo, Japan, Aflac has three primary campuses. The first campus includes a building, owned by Aflac, for the customer call center, the claims department, information technology departments, and training facility. It also includes a leased property, which houses our policy administration and customer service departments. The second campus comprises leased space, which serves as Aflac Japan's headquarters and houses administrative and investment support

27




functions for the Japan branch. The third campus comprises leased space for the information technology departments. Aflac also leases additional office space in Tokyo, along with regional offices located throughout the country.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are a defendant in various lawsuits considered to be in the normal course of business. Members of our senior legal and financial management teams review litigation on a quarterly and annual basis. The final results of any litigation cannot be predicted with certainty. Although some of this litigation is pending in states where large punitive damages, bearing little relation to the actual damages sustained by plaintiffs, have been awarded in recent years, we believe the outcome of pending litigation will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.


28



PART II
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER
PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information
Aflac Incorporated's common stock is principally traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. Our stock is also listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The quarterly high and low market prices for the Company's common stock, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange for the two years ended December 31 were as follows:
Quarterly Common Stock Prices
 
2016
High
 
Low
4th Quarter
 
$
73.95

 
 
 
$
67.50

 
3rd Quarter
 
74.50

 
 
 
71.02

 
2nd Quarter
 
72.17

 
 
 
62.59

 
1st Quarter
 
64.33

 
 
 
54.57

 
 
2015
High
 
Low
4th Quarter
 
$
66.53

 
 
 
$
56.78

 
3rd Quarter
 
64.99

 
 
 
51.41

 
2nd Quarter
 
65.10

 
 
 
61.32

 
1st Quarter
 
64.62

 
 
 
56.41

 

Holders

As of February 15, 2017, there were 87,228 holders of record of the Company's common stock.
Dividends
 
2016
 
2015
4th Quarter
 
$
.43

 
 
 
$
.41

 
3rd Quarter
 
.41

 
 
 
.39

 
2nd Quarter
 
.41

 
 
 
.39

 
1st Quarter
 
.41

 
 
 
.39

 

In January 2017, the board of directors declared the first quarter 2017 cash dividend of $.43 per share. The dividend is payable on March 1, 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 15, 2017. The declaration and payment of future dividends to holders of our common stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon many factors, including our financial condition, earnings, capital requirements of our operating subsidiaries, legal requirements, regulatory constraints and other factors as the board of directors deems relevant. There can be no assurance that we will declare and pay any additional or future dividends. For information concerning dividend restrictions, see Regulatory Restrictions in the Capital Resources and Liquidity section of MD&A and Note 13 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements presented in this report.


29



Stock Performance Graph
The following graph compares the five-year performance of the Company's common stock to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500) and the Standard & Poor's Life and Health Insurance Index (S&P Life and Health). The Standard & Poor's Life and Health Insurance Index includes: Aflac Incorporated, Lincoln National Corporation, MetLife Inc., Principal Financial Group Inc., Prudential Financial Inc., Torchmark Corporation and Unum Group.

a5yearcharta02.jpg


Performance Graphic Index
December 31,
 
2011

 
2012

 
2013

 
2014

 
2015

 
2016

Aflac Incorporated
100.00

 
126.36

 
162.90

 
152.66

 
153.45

 
182.78

S&P 500
100.00

 
116.00

 
153.58

 
174.60

 
177.01

 
198.18

S&P Life & Health Insurance
100.00

 
114.59

 
187.33

 
190.98

 
178.93

 
223.41

Copyright© 2017 Standard & Poor’s, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved. (www.researchdatagroup.com/S&P.htm)

30



Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
During the year ended December 31, 2016, we repurchased shares of Aflac common stock as follows:
Period
Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased
 
Average
Price Paid
Per Share
 
Total
Number
of Shares
Purchased
as Part of
Publicly
Announced
Plans or
Programs
 
Maximum    
Number of    
Shares that    
May Yet Be    
Purchased    
Under the    
Plans or    
Programs    
 
January 1 - January 31
 
3,492,400

 
 
 
$
57.29

 
 
 
3,492,400

 
 
 
44,879,158

 
 
February 1 - February 29
 
3,584,566

 
 
 
58.20

 
 
 
3,435,930

 
 
 
41,443,228

 
 
March 1 - March 31
 
3,229,684

 
 
 
62.07

 
 
 
3,224,000

 
 
 
38,219,228

 
 
April 1 - April 30
 
2,028,224

 
 
 
66.15

 
 
 
2,026,445

 
 
 
36,192,783

 
 
May 1 - May 31
 
1,929,098

 
 
 
68.97

 
 
 
1,929,098

 
 
 
34,263,685

 
 
June 1  - June 30
 
1,925,149

 
 
 
69.36

 
 
 
1,918,479

 
 
 
32,345,206

 
 
July 1 - July 31
 
918,411

 
 
 
72.99

 
 
 
918,300

 
 
 
31,426,906

 
 
August 1 - August 31
 
1,001,959

 
 
 
72.79

 
 
 
920,700

 
 
 
30,506,206

 
 
September 1  - September 30
 
911,184

 
 
 
72.68

 
 
 
908,600

 
 
 
29,597,606

 
 
October 1 - October 31
 
0

 
 
 
0.00

 
 
 
0

 
 
 
29,597,606

 
 
November 1 - November 30
 
1,407,600

 
 
 
71.07

 
 
 
1,407,600

 
 
 
28,190,006

 
 
December 1  - December 31
 
1,438,566

 
 
 
69.64

 
 
 
1,436,552

 
 
 
26,753,454

 
 
Total
 
21,866,841

 
(2) 
 
$
64.77

 
 
 
21,618,104

 
 
 
26,753,454

 
(1) 
(1)The total remaining shares available for purchase at December 31, 2016, consisted of 26,753,454 shares related to a 40,000,000 share repurchase authorization by the board of directors in 2015.
(2)During the year ended December 31, 2016, 248,737 shares were purchased in connection with income tax withholding obligations related to the vesting of restricted-share-based awards during the period.


31



ITEM 6.     SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

Aflac Incorporated and Subsidiaries
Years Ended December 31,
 
(In millions, except for share and per-share amounts)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net premiums, principally supplemental
health insurance
$
19,225

 
$
17,570

 
$
19,072

 
$
20,135

 
$
22,148

Net investment income
3,278

 
3,135

 
3,319

 
3,293

 
3,473

Realized investment gains (losses)
(123
)
 
140

 
215

 
399

 
(349
)
Other income
179

 
27

 
122

 
112

 
92

Total revenues
22,559

 
20,872

 
22,728

 
23,939

 
25,364

Benefits and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Benefits and claims, net
12,919

 
11,746

 
12,937

 
13,813

 
15,330

Expenses
5,573

 
5,264

 
5,300

 
5,310

 
5,732

Total benefits and expenses
18,492

 
17,010

 
18,237

 
19,123

 
21,062

Pretax earnings
4,067

 
3,862

 
4,491

 
4,816

 
4,302

Income taxes
1,408

 
1,329

 
1,540

 
1,658

 
1,436

Net earnings
$
2,659

 
$
2,533

 
$
2,951

 
$
3,158

 
$
2,866

Share and Per-Share Amounts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net earnings (basic)
$
6.46

 
$
5.88

 
$
6.54

 
$
6.80

 
$
6.14

Net earnings (diluted)
6.42

 
5.85

 
6.50

 
6.76

 
6.11

Cash dividends paid
1.66

 
1.58

 
1.50

 
1.42

 
1.34

Cash dividends declared
1.66

 
1.58

 
1.50

 
1.42

 
1.34

Weighted-average common shares used for basic
EPS (In thousands)
411,471

 
430,654

 
451,204

 
464,502

 
466,868

Weighted-average common shares used for diluted
EPS (In thousands)
413,921

 
433,172

 
454,000

 
467,408

 
469,287

Supplemental Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yen/dollar exchange rate at year-end (yen)
116.49

 
120.61

 
120.55

 
105.39

 
86.58

Weighted-average yen/dollar exchange rate (yen)
108.70

 
120.99

 
105.46

 
97.54

 
79.81





32



Aflac Incorporated and Subsidiaries
December 31,
 
(In millions)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Assets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investments and cash
$
116,361

 
$
105,897

 
$
107,341

 
$
108,459

 
$
118,219

Other
13,458

 
12,359

 
12,386

 
12,809

 
12,838

Total assets
$
129,819

 
$
118,256

 
$
119,727

 
$
121,268

 
$
131,057

Liabilities and shareholders’ equity:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Policy liabilities
$
93,726

 
$
87,631

 
$
83,933

 
$
89,402

 
$
97,720

Income taxes
5,387

 
4,340

 
5,293

 
3,718

 
3,858

Notes payable
5,360

 
4,971

 
5,242

 
4,858

 
4,315

Other liabilities
4,864

 
3,606

 
6,912

 
8,670

 
9,186

Shareholders’ equity
20,482

 
17,708

 
18,347

 
14,620

 
15,978

Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity
$
129,819

 
$
118,256

 
$
119,727

 
$
121,268

 
$
131,057

Prior-year amounts have been adjusted for the adoption of accounting guidance on January 1, 2016 related to debt issuance costs.



33



ITEM 7.     MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF
OPERATIONS
                              
FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

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. We 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 “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “goal,” “objective,” “may,” “should,” “estimate,” “intends,” “projects,” “will,” “assumes,” “potential,” “target”, "outlook" or similar words as well as specific projections of future results, generally qualify as forward-looking. Aflac undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements.

We caution 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
exposure to significant interest rate risk
concentration of business in Japan
foreign currency fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate
failure to execute or implement the conversion of the Japan branch conversion to a legal subsidiary
limited availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments
deviations in actual experience from pricing and reserving assumptions
ability to continue to develop and implement improvements in information technology systems
governmental actions for the purpose of stabilizing the financial markets
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
ongoing changes in our industry
failure to comply with restrictions on patient privacy and information security
extensive regulation and changes in law or regulation by governmental authorities
defaults and credit downgrades of investments
ability to attract and retain qualified sales associates and employees
decline in creditworthiness of other financial institutions
subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to Aflac Incorporated
decreases in our financial strength or debt ratings
inherent limitations to risk management policies and procedures
concentration of our investments in any particular single-issuer or sector
differing judgments applied to investment valuations
ability to effectively manage key executive succession
significant valuation judgments in determination of amount of impairments taken on our investments
catastrophic events including, but not necessarily limited to, epidemics, pandemics, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, acts of terrorism and damage incidental to such events
changes in U.S. and/or Japanese accounting standards
loss of consumer trust resulting from events external to our operations
increased expenses and reduced profitability resulting from changes in assumptions for pension and other postretirement benefit plans
level and outcome of litigation
failure of internal controls or corporate governance policies and procedures




34



MD&A OVERVIEW

Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) is intended to inform the reader about matters affecting the financial condition and results of operations of Aflac Incorporated and its subsidiaries for the three-year period ended December 31, 2016. As a result, the following discussion should be read in conjunction with the related consolidated financial statements and notes. This MD&A is divided into the following sections:

Our Business
Performance Highlights
Critical Accounting Estimates
Results of Operations, consolidated and by segment
Analysis of Financial Condition, including discussion of market risks of financial instruments
Capital Resources and Liquidity, including discussion of availability of capital and the sources and uses of cash

OUR BUSINESS

Aflac Incorporated (the Parent Company) and its subsidiaries (collectively, the Company) primarily sell supplemental health and life insurance in the United States and Japan. The Company's insurance business is marketed and administered through American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), which operates in the United States (Aflac U.S.) and as a branch in Japan (Aflac Japan). Most of Aflac's policies are individually underwritten and marketed through independent agents. Aflac U.S. also markets and administers group products through Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), branded as Aflac Group Insurance. Our insurance operations in the United States and our branch in Japan service the two markets for our insurance business.

For more information on our business, see Business, Part I, Item 1 of this report.

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS

Yen-denominated income statement accounts are translated to U.S. dollars using a weighted-average Japanese yen/U.S. dollar foreign exchange rate, while yen-denominated balance sheet accounts are translated to U.S. dollars using a spot Japanese yen/U.S. dollar foreign exchange rate. The spot yen/dollar exchange rate at December 31, 2016 was 116.49, or 3.5% stronger than the December 31, 2015 spot yen/dollar exchange rate of 120.61. The weighted-average yen/dollar exchange rate for the year ended December 31, 2016 was 108.70, or 11.3% stronger than the weighted-average yen/dollar exchange rate of 120.99 for the same period in 2015.

Reflecting the stronger yen/dollar exchange rate, total revenues increased 8.1% to $22.6 billion in 2016, compared with $20.9 billion in 2015. Net earnings in 2016 were $2.7 billion, or $6.42 per diluted share, compared with $2.5 billion, or $5.85 per diluted share, in 2015.

Results for 2016 included pretax net realized investment losses of $123 million ($80 million after-tax), compared with net realized investment gains of $140 million ($91 million after-tax) in 2015. Net investment losses in 2016 consisted of $215 million of net gains ($140 million after-tax) from the sale or redemption of securities; $83 million ($54 million after-tax) of other-than-temporary impairment losses; and $255 million of net losses ($166 million after-tax) from valuing derivatives.

Shareholders' equity included a net unrealized gain on investment securities and derivatives of $4.8 billion at December 31, 2016, compared with a net unrealized gain of $3.0 billion at December 31, 2015.

In December 2016, the Parent Company completed a tender offer in which it extinguished $176 million principal of its 6.90% senior notes due 2039 and $193 million principal of its 6.45% senior notes due 2040. The pretax loss due to the early redemption of these notes was $137 million.

In September 2016, the Parent Company issued $700 million of senior notes through a U.S. public debt offering and also entered into a 5.0 billion yen loan and a 25.0 billion yen loan. In September 2016, we extinguished 8.0 billion yen of 2.26% fixed rate Uridashi notes upon their maturity and in July 2016, we extinguished 15.8 billion yen of 1.84% fixed rate Samurai notes upon their maturity.


35





In October 2016, the Parent Company and Aflac renewed a 364-day uncommitted bilateral line of credit that provides for borrowings in the amount of $100 million. In March 2016, the Parent Company entered into a three-year senior unsecured revolving credit facility agreement with a syndicate of financial institutions that provides for borrowings of up to 100.0 billion yen. For further information regarding these transactions, see Note 9 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements and the Capital Resources and Liquidity section of this MD&A.

We repurchased 21.6 million shares of our common stock in the open market for $1.4 billion under our share repurchase program in 2016, compared with 21.2 million shares repurchased in 2015.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

We prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). These principles are established primarily by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). In this MD&A, references to U.S. GAAP issued by the FASB are derived from the FASB Accounting Standards CodificationTM (ASC). The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires us to make estimates based on currently available information when recording transactions resulting from business operations. The estimates that we deem to be most critical to an understanding of Aflac's results of operations and financial condition are those related to the valuation of investments and derivatives, deferred policy acquisition costs (DAC), liabilities for future policy benefits and unpaid policy claims, and income taxes. The preparation and evaluation of these critical accounting estimates involve the use of various assumptions developed from management's analyses and judgments. The application of these critical accounting estimates determines the values at which 93% of our assets and 78% of our liabilities are reported as of December 31, 2016, and thus has a direct effect on net earnings and shareholders' equity. Subsequent experience or use of other assumptions could produce significantly different results.

Investments and Derivatives

Aflac's investments, primarily consisting of debt, perpetual and equity securities, include both publicly issued and privately issued securities. For publicly issued securities, we determine the fair values from quoted market prices readily available from public exchange markets and price quotes and valuations from third party pricing vendors. For the majority of privately issued securities within our investment portfolio, a third party pricing vendor has developed valuation models that we utilize to determine fair values. For the remaining privately issued securities, we use non-binding price quotes from outside brokers.

We estimate the fair values of our securities on a monthly basis. We monitor the estimated fair values obtained from our custodian, pricing vendors and brokers for consistency from month to month, while considering current market conditions. We also periodically discuss with our custodian and pricing brokers and vendors the pricing techniques they use to monitor the consistency of their approach and periodically assess the appropriateness of the valuation level assigned to the values obtained from them. If a fair value appears unreasonable, we will re-examine the inputs and assess the reasonableness of the pricing data with the vendor. Additionally, we may compare the inputs to relevant market indices and other performance measurements. The output of this analysis is presented to the Company's Valuation and Classifications Subcommittee (VCS). Based on the analysis provided to the VCS, the valuation is confirmed or may be revised if there is evidence of a more appropriate estimate of fair value based on available market data. We have performed verification of the inputs and calculations in any valuation models to confirm that the valuations represent reasonable estimates of fair value.

We also routinely review our investments that have experienced declines in fair value to determine if the decline is other than temporary. The identification of distressed investments, the determination of fair value if not publicly traded and the assessment of whether a decline is other than temporary involve significant management judgment. We must apply considerable judgment in determining the likelihood of the security recovering in value while we own it. Factors that may influence this include our assessment of the issuer’s ability to continue making timely payments of interest and principal, the overall level of interest rates and credit spreads, and other factors. This process requires consideration of risks, which can be controlled to a certain extent, such as credit risk, and risks which cannot be controlled, such as interest rate risk. Management updates its evaluations regularly and reflects impairment losses in the Company's net earnings or other comprehensive income, depending on the nature of the loss, as such evaluations are revised.

Our derivative activities include foreign currency, interest rate and credit default swaps in variable interest entities (VIEs) that are consolidated; foreign currency swaps associated with certain senior notes and our subordinated debentures; foreign currency forwards and options used in hedging foreign exchange risk and options on interest rate swaps (or interest rate swaptions) used in hedging interest rate risk on U.S. dollar-denominated securities in Aflac Japan's

36



portfolio; and foreign currency forwards and options used to economically hedge certain portions of forecasted cash flows denominated in yen. Inputs used to value derivatives include, but are not limited to, interest rates, credit spreads, foreign currency forward and spot rates, and interest volatility. With the exception of the derivatives associated with our VIE investments, the fair values of the derivatives referenced above are based on the amounts we would expect to receive or pay to terminate the derivatives. For derivatives associated with VIEs where we are the primary beneficiary, we receive valuations from a third party pricing vendor.

See Notes 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

Deferred Policy Acquisition Costs and Policy Liabilities

Insurance premiums for most of the Company's health and life policies, including cancer, accident, hospital, critical illness, dental, vision, term life, whole life, long-term care and disability, are recognized as revenue over the premium-paying periods of the contracts when due from policyholders. When revenues are reported, the related amounts of benefits and expenses are charged against such revenues, so that profits are recognized in proportion to premium revenues during the period the policies are expected to remain in force. This association is accomplished by means of annual additions to the liability for future policy benefits and the deferral and subsequent amortization of policy acquisition costs.

Premiums from the Company's products with limited-pay features, including term life, whole life, WAYS, and child endowment, are collected over a significantly shorter period than the period over which benefits are provided. Premiums for these products are recognized as revenue over the premium-paying periods of the contracts when due from policyholders. Any gross premium in excess of the net premium is deferred and recorded in earnings, such that profits are recognized in a constant relationship with insurance in force. Benefits are recorded as an expense when they are incurred. A liability for future policy benefits is recorded when premiums are recognized using the net premium method.

Deferred Policy Acquisition Costs

The calculation of DAC and the liability for future policy benefits requires the use of estimates based on sound actuarial valuation techniques. For new policy issues, we review our actuarial assumptions and deferrable acquisition costs each year and revise them when necessary to more closely reflect recent experience and studies of actual acquisition costs. For policies in force, we evaluate DAC by major product groupings to determine that they are recoverable from future revenues, and any amounts determined not to be recoverable are charged against net earnings. See Note 6 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for a detail of the DAC activity for the past two years.

Policy Liabilities

The following table provides details of policy liabilities by segment and in total as of December 31.

37



Policy Liabilities
(In millions)
2016
 
2015
Japan segment:
 
 
 
Future policy benefits
$
68,291

 
$
62,244

Unpaid policy claims
2,393

 
2,193

Other policy liabilities
13,457

 
14,023

Total Japan policy liabilities
$
84,141

 
$
78,460

U.S. segment:
 
 
 
Future policy benefits
$
8,442

 
$
8,087

Unpaid policy claims
1,652

 
1,609

Other policy liabilities
118

 
119

Total U.S. policy liabilities
$
10,212

 
$
9,815

Consolidated:
 
 
 
Future policy benefits
$
76,106

 
$
69,687

Unpaid policy claims
4,045

 
3,802

Other policy liabilities
13,575

 
14,142

Total consolidated policy liabilities(1)
$
93,726

 
$
87,631

(1) The sum of the Japan and U.S. segments exceeds the total due to reinsurance and retrocession activity.

Our policy liabilities, which are determined in accordance with applicable guidelines as defined under U.S. GAAP and Actuarial Standards of Practice, include two components that involve analysis and judgment: future policy benefits and unpaid policy claims, which accounted for 81% and 4% of total policy liabilities as of December 31, 2016, respectively.

Future policy benefits provide for claims that will occur in the future and are generally calculated as the present value of future expected benefits to be incurred less the present value of future expected net benefit premiums. We calculate future policy benefits based on assumptions of morbidity, mortality, persistency and interest. These assumptions are generally established at the time a policy is issued. The assumptions used in the calculations are closely related to those used in developing the gross premiums for a policy. As required by U.S. GAAP, we also include a provision for adverse deviation, which is intended to accommodate adverse fluctuations in actual experience.

Unpaid policy claims include those claims that have been incurred and are in the process of payment as well as an estimate of those claims that have been incurred but have not yet been reported to us. We compute unpaid policy claims on a non-discounted basis using statistical analyses of historical claims payments, adjusted for current trends and changed conditions. We update the assumptions underlying the estimate of unpaid policy claims regularly and incorporate our historical experience as well as other data that provides information regarding our outstanding liability.

Our insurance products provide fixed-benefit amounts per occurrence that are not subject to medical-cost inflation. Furthermore, our business is widely dispersed in both the United States and Japan. This geographic dispersion and the nature of our benefit structure mitigate the risk of a significant unexpected increase in claims payments due to epidemics and events of a catastrophic nature. Claims incurred under Aflac's policies are generally reported and paid in a relatively short time frame. The unpaid claims liability is sensitive to morbidity assumptions, in particular, severity and frequency of claims. Severity is the ultimate size of a claim, and frequency is the number of claims incurred. Our claims experience is primarily related to the demographics of our policyholders.

As a part of our established financial reporting and accounting practices and controls, we perform detailed annual actuarial reviews of our policyholder liabilities (gross premium valuation analysis) and reflect the results of those reviews in our results of operations and financial condition as required by U.S. GAAP. For Aflac Japan, our annual reviews in 2016 and 2015 indicated that we needed to strengthen the liability associated with a block of care policies, primarily due to low investment yields. We strengthened our future policy benefits liability by $52 and $18 million in 2016 and 2015, respectively, as a result of these reviews. Our review in 2014 indicated no need to strengthen liabilities associated with policies in Japan. Our reviews in 2016, 2015 and 2014 indicated no need to strengthen liabilities associated with policies in the United States.


38



The table below reflects the growth of the future policy benefits liability for the years ended December 31.
Future Policy Benefits
(In millions of dollars and billions of yen)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
Aflac U.S.
$
8,442

 
$
8,087

 
$
7,728

 
Growth rate
4.4
%

4.6
%

5.1
 %

Aflac Japan
$
68,291

 
$
62,244

 
$
57,916

 
Growth rate
9.7
%

7.5
%

(6.3
)%

Consolidated
$
76,106

 
$
69,687

 
$
65,646

 
Growth rate
9.2
%

6.2
%

(5.0
)%

Yen/dollar exchange rate (end of period)
116.49

 
120.61

 
120.55

 
Aflac Japan (in yen)
7,955

 
7,507

 
6,982

 
Growth rate
6.0
%

7.5
%

7.2
 %


The growth of the future policy benefits liability in yen for Aflac Japan and in dollars for Aflac U.S. has been due to the aging of our in-force block of business and the addition of new business.

In computing the estimate of unpaid policy claims, we consider many factors, including the benefits and amounts available under the policy; the volume and demographics of the policies exposed to claims; and internal business practices, such as incurred date assignment and current claim administrative practices. We monitor these conditions closely and make adjustments to the liability as actual experience emerges. Claim levels are generally stable from period to period; however, fluctuations in claim levels may occur. In calculating the unpaid policy claim liability, we do not calculate a range of estimates. The following table shows the expected sensitivity of the unpaid policy claims liability as of December 31, 2016, to changes in severity and frequency of claims.
Sensitivity of Unpaid Policy Claims Liability
(In millions)
 
Total Severity
 
Total Frequency
Decrease
by 2%
 
Decrease
by 1%
 
Unchanged
 
Increase
by 1%
 
Increase
by 2%
Increase by 2%
 
$
0

 
 
 
$
24

 
 
 
$
48

 
 
 
$
73

 
 
 
$
98

 
Increase by 1%
 
(24
)
 
 
 
0

 
 
 
24

 
 
 
49

 
 
 
73

 
Unchanged
 
(48
)
 
 
 
(24
)
 
 
 
0

 
 
 
24

 
 
 
48

 
Decrease by 1%
 
(71
)
 
 
 
(48
)
 
 
 
(24
)
 
 
 
0

 
 
 
24

 
Decrease by 2%
 
(94
)
 
 
 
(71
)
 
 
 
(48
)
 
 
 
(24
)
 
 
 
0

 

Other policy liabilities, which accounted for 15% of total policy liabilities as of December 31, 2016, consisted primarily of discounted advance premiums on deposit from policyholders in conjunction with their purchase of certain Aflac Japan insurance products. These advanced premiums are deferred upon collection and recognized as premium revenue over the contractual premium payment period. Advanced premiums represented 38% and 43% of the December 31, 2016 and 2015 other policy liabilities balances, respectively. See the Aflac Japan segment subsection of this MD&A for further information.

Income Taxes

Income tax provisions are generally based on pretax earnings reported for financial statement purposes, which differ from those amounts used in preparing our income tax returns. Deferred income taxes are recognized for temporary differences between the financial reporting basis and income tax basis of assets and liabilities, based on enacted tax laws and statutory tax rates applicable to the periods in which we expect the temporary differences to reverse. The evaluation of a tax position in accordance with U.S. GAAP is a two-step process. Under the first step, the enterprise determines whether it is more likely than not that a tax position will be sustained upon examination by taxing authorities. The second step is measurement, whereby a tax position that meets the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold is measured to determine the amount of benefit to recognize in the financial statements. A valuation allowance is established for deferred tax assets when it is more likely than not that an amount will not be realized. The determination of a valuation allowance for deferred tax assets requires management to make certain judgments and assumptions.


39



In evaluating the ability to recover deferred tax assets, our management considers all available evidence, including taxable income in open carry back years, the existence of cumulative losses in the most recent years, forecasted earnings, future taxable income exclusive of reversing temporary differences and carryforwards, future taxable temporary difference reversals, and prudent and feasible tax planning strategies. In the event we determine it is not more likely than not that we will be able to realize all or part of our deferred tax assets in the future, a valuation allowance would be charged to earnings in the period such determination is made. Likewise, if it is later determined that it is more likely than not that those deferred tax assets would be realized, the previously provided valuation allowance would be reversed. Future economic conditions and market volatility, including increases in interest rates or widening credit spreads, can adversely impact the Company’s tax planning strategies and in particular the Company’s ability to utilize tax benefits on previously recognized capital losses. Our judgments and assumptions are subject to change given the inherent uncertainty in predicting future performance and specific industry and investment market conditions.

Interest rates and credit spreads in both the United States and Japan are not the only factors that impact the Company’s unrealized gain/loss position and the evaluation of a need for a valuation allowance on the Company’s deferred tax asset, but they do have a direct and significant effect on both. Based on our methodology described above for evaluating the need for a valuation allowance, we have determined that it is more likely than not that our deferred tax assets will be realized in the future, therefore we have not recorded a valuation allowance as of December 31, 2016.

See Note 10 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

New Accounting Pronouncements

During the last three years, various accounting standard-setting bodies have been active in soliciting comments and issuing statements, interpretations and exposure drafts. For information on new accounting pronouncements and the impact, if any, on our financial position or results of operations, see Note 1 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion includes references to our performance measures, operating earnings and operating earnings per diluted share, which are not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. These measures exclude items that we believe may obscure the underlying fundamentals and trends in our insurance operations because they tend to be driven by general economic conditions and events or related to infrequent activities not directly associated with our insurance operations. Our management uses operating earnings and operating earnings per diluted share to evaluate the financial performance of our insurance operations on a consolidated basis, and we believe that a presentation of these measures is vitally important to an understanding of our underlying profitability drivers and trends of our insurance business.

Aflac defines operating earnings (a non-U.S. GAAP financial measure) as the profits derived from operations. Operating earnings includes interest cash flows associated with notes payable but excludes items that cannot be predicted or that are outside of management's control, such as realized investment gains and losses from securities transactions, impairments, and derivative and hedging activities; nonrecurring items; and other non-operating income (loss) from net earnings. Aflac's derivative activities are primarily used to hedge foreign exchange and interest rate risk in our investment portfolio as well as manage foreign exchange risk for certain notes payable and forecasted cash flows denominated in yen. We define operating earnings per share (basic or dilutive) to be operating earnings for the period divided by the average outstanding shares (basic or dilutive) for the period presented.

Because a significant portion of our business is conducted in Japan and foreign exchange rates are outside of management’s control, we believe it is important to understand the impact of translating Japanese yen into U.S. dollars. Operating earnings and operating earnings per diluted shares excluding current period foreign currency impact are computed using the average yen/dollar exchange rate for the comparable prior year period, which eliminates dollar based fluctuations driven solely from currency rate changes.

The following table is a reconciliation of items impacting operating earnings, net earnings, operating earnings per diluted share, and net earnings per diluted share to the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measures for the years ended December 31.

40



Reconciliation of Net Earnings to Operating Earnings
 
In Millions
 
Per Diluted Share
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Net earnings
$
2,659

 
$
2,533

 
$
2,951

 
$
6.42

 
$
5.85

 
$
6.50

Items impacting net earnings:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Realized investment (gains) losses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Securities transactions and impairments
(132
)
 
(150
)
 
(184
)
 
(.32
)
 
(.35
)
 
(.40
)
Impact of derivative and hedging activities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hedge costs related to foreign currency
investments
(1)
186

 
72

 
35

 
.45

 
.17

 
.08

  Other derivative and hedging activities (1),(2)
154

 
23

 
(22
)
 
.37

 
.05

 
(.05
)
Other and non-recurring (income) loss
28

 
266

(3) 
(67
)
 
.07

 
.61

 
(.15
)
Income tax (benefit) expense on items excluded
from operating earnings
(1)
(83
)
 
(74
)
 
84

 
(.20
)
 
(.17
)
 
.18

Operating earnings
2,812

 
2,670

 
2,797

 
6.79

 
6.16

 
6.16

Current period foreign currency impact (4)
(141
)
 
N/A

 
N/A

 
(.34
)
 
N/A

 
N/A

Operating earnings excluding current period
foreign currency impact
(5)
$
2,671

 
$
2,670

 
$
2,797

 
$
6.45

 
$
6.16

 
$
6.16

(1) Prior year amounts have been reclassified to reflect the change in methodology of calculating the hedge costs related to foreign currency investments. See "Hedge Costs" discussion below for further discussion.
(2) Excludes a gain of $85 in both 2016 and 2015 and $44 in 2014 related to the interest rate component of the change in fair value of foreign currency swaps on notes payable which is classified as an operating gain when analyzing segment operations
(3) Includes a loss of $20 in 2015 related to the change in value of yen repatriation received in advance of settlement of certain foreign currency derivatives. This loss was offset by derivative gains included in other derivative and hedging activities.
(4) Prior period foreign currency impact reflected as “N/A” to isolate change for current period only.
(5) Amounts excluding current period foreign currency impact are computed using the average yen/dollar exchange rate for the comparable prior-year period, which eliminates dollar-based fluctuations driven solely from currency rate changes.


Realized Investment Gains and Losses

Our investment strategy is to invest primarily in fixed-maturity securities to provide a reliable stream of investment income, which is one of the drivers of the Company’s growth and profitability. This investment strategy incorporates asset-liability matching (ALM) to align the expected cash flows of the portfolio to the needs of the Company's liability structure. We do not purchase securities with the intent of generating capital gains or losses. However, investment gains and losses may be realized as a result of changes in the financial markets and the creditworthiness of specific issuers, tax planning strategies, and/or general portfolio management and rebalancing. The realization of investment gains and losses is independent of the underwriting and administration of our insurance products, which are the principal drivers of our profitability.

Securities Transactions and Impairments

During 2016, we realized pretax investment gains, net of losses, of $215 million ($140 million after-tax) from sales and redemptions of securities. These net gains were primarily related to foreign currency gains on sale and redemption activities as well as gains related to call activity on previously impaired securities. We realized pretax investment losses of $83 million ($54 million after-tax) as a result of the recognition of other-than-temporary impairment losses on certain securities.

During 2015, we realized pretax investment gains, net of losses, of $303 million ($197 million after-tax) from sales and redemptions of securities. These net gains primarily resulted from sales of Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) as part of a portfolio repositioning exercise. We realized pretax investment losses of $153 million ($100 million after-tax) as a result of the recognition of other-than-temporary impairment losses on certain securities. Investment losses were primarily related to the recognition of an other-than-temporary impairment loss on a single holding.

During 2014, we realized pretax investment gains, net of losses, of $215 million ($140 million after-tax) from sales and redemptions of securities. These net gains primarily resulted from gains on sales of JGBs and our U.S. Treasury holdings, currency gains from transactions by our externally managed portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated bank loans, and assorted

41



other bond sales and calls. We realized pretax investment losses of $31 million ($20 million after-tax) as a result of the recognition of other-than-temporary impairment losses on certain securities.

See Note 3 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more details on these investment activities.

Impact of Derivative and Hedging Activities

Our derivative instruments include foreign currency swaps and credit default swaps held in consolidated VIEs; foreign currency forwards and options, interest rate swaptions and futures on certain fixed-maturity securities; foreign currency forwards and options that economically hedge certain portions of forecasted cash flows denominated in yen; and foreign currency swaps associated with certain senior notes and our subordinated debentures. During 2016, we realized pretax investment losses, net of gains, of $255 million, compared with pretax investment losses, net of gains, of $10 million in 2015 and pretax investment gains, net of losses, of $31 million in 2014 as a result of valuing these derivatives, net of the effects of hedge accounting. For a description of other items that could be included in the Impact of Derivative and Hedging Activities, see the Hedging Activities subsection of MD&A and Note 4 of the accompanying Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Hedge Costs

Our Reconciliation of Net Earnings to Operating Earnings table above includes a line item related to the costs incurred in using foreign currency forward contracts to hedge a portion of the foreign currency exchange risk on the U.S. dollar-denominated assets in Aflac Japan's investment portfolio. These hedge costs are derived from the difference between the foreign currency spot rate at time of trade inception and the contractual foreign currency forward rate. For our non-U.S. GAAP reporting disclosures, we have historically reported the total hedge costs of these contracts in the period in which the foreign currency forward was executed. Beginning in 2016, we changed our non-U.S. GAAP reporting for these hedge costs by amortizing them evenly over the life of the foreign currency forward contracts. We believe amortizing the hedge costs over the life of these contracts provides a better measure of our non-U.S. GAAP results as compared to our historical methodology. In 2016, we began increasing the duration of the foreign currency forward contracts used to hedge our U.S. dollar-denominated assets in Aflac Japan's investment portfolio to cover periods extending beyond one year. Therefore, recognizing these costs over the extended hedging periods provides a better measure of our costs, and better reflects the economics of how hedge costs emerge over the life of the hedge. The table below summarizes the impact of our change in hedge cost reporting methodology:

Hedge Costs Related to Foreign Investments (Non-U.S. GAAP basis)
(In millions)
 
 
Pretax basis
Period
 
Historical Reporting Method
 
Revised Reporting Method
 
2016:
 
 
 
 
 
Quarter ended September 30,
 
$
(188
)
 
$
(54
)
 
Quarter ended June 30,
 
(48
)
 
(37
)
 
Quarter ended March 31,
 
(44
)
 
(32
)
 
2015:
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
$
(136
)
 
$
(72
)
 
Quarter ended September 30,
 
(28
)
 
(17
)
 
Quarter ended June 30,
 
(18
)
 
(16
)
 
Quarter ended March 31,
 
(14
)
 
(13
)
 
2014:
 
 
 
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
$
(37
)
 
$
(35
)
 
Quarter ended September 30,
 
(1
)
 
(10
)
 
Quarter ended June 30,
 
(25
)
 
(8
)
 
Quarter ended March 31,
 
(10
)
 
(7
)
 


42



Hedge costs can fluctuate based upon many factors, including the derivative notional amount, the length of time of the derivative contract, and changes in both U.S. and Japan interest rates. Hedge costs have increased in recent periods due to changes in the previously mentioned factors.

For additional information regarding realized investment gains and losses, see Notes 3 and 4 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Other and Non-recurring Items

The Company includes the accounting impacts of remeasurement associated with changes in the yen/dollar exchange rate as an other non-operating item. During 2016, we recognized a foreign currency gain of $109 million due to a temporary sizable U.S. dollar cash balance and cash settlements of U.S. dollar-denominated investment transactions within the Japan segment. In December 2016, the Parent Company completed a tender offer in which it extinguished $176 million principal of its 6.90% senior notes due 2039 and $193 million principal of its 6.45% senior notes due 2040. The pretax non-operating loss due to the early redemption of these notes was $137 million. During 2015, the make-whole premium paid to the investors of our 8.50% fixed-rate senior notes for the early redemption of those notes was recorded as a $230 million pretax non-operating loss. We consider the costs associated with the early redemption of our debt to be unrelated to the underlying fundamentals and trends in our insurance operations. Additionally, these costs are driven by changes in interest rates subsequent to the issuance of the debt, and we consider these interest rate changes to represent economic conditions not directly associated with our insurance operations.

Foreign Currency Translation
    
Aflac Japan’s premiums and approximately half of its investment income are received in yen. Claims and most expenses are paid in yen, and we purchase yen-denominated assets and U.S. dollar-denominated assets, which may be hedged to yen, to support yen-denominated policy liabilities. These and other yen-denominated financial statement items are, however, translated into dollars for financial reporting purposes. We translate Aflac Japan’s yen-denominated income statement into dollars using an average exchange rate for the reporting period, and we translate its yen-denominated balance sheet using the exchange rate at the end of the period.
Due to the size of Aflac Japan, where our functional currency is the Japanese yen, fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate can have a significant effect on our reported results. In periods when the yen weakens, translating yen into dollars results in fewer dollars being reported. When the yen strengthens, translating yen into dollars results in more dollars being reported. Consequently, yen weakening has the effect of suppressing current period results in relation to the comparable prior period, while yen strengthening has the effect of magnifying current period results in relation to the comparable prior period. As a result, we view foreign currency translation as a financial reporting issue for Aflac rather than an economic event to our Company or shareholders.

Income Taxes

Our combined U.S. and Japanese effective income tax rate on pretax earnings was 34.6% in 2016, 34.4% in 2015 and 34.3% in 2014. Total income taxes were $1.4 billion in 2016, compared with $1.3 billion in 2015 and $1.5 billion in 2014. Japanese income taxes on Aflac Japan's results account for most of our consolidated income tax expense. See Note 10 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

2017 Outlook

Our objective in 2017 is to maintain our strong capital position while producing stable earnings and strong cash flows. We believe that our market-leading position, powerful brand recognition and diverse distribution in Japan and the United States will provide support toward this objective. In 2017, we expect the low-interest rate environment to continue in Japan, and we will continue to monitor these and other economic conditions as we execute on our plans for sales, investments and capital management.

We believe that our efforts will continue our prudent strategies for capital deployment, as well as our ongoing commitment to customer service, product innovation and distribution enhancement.


43



INSURANCE OPERATIONS
Aflac's insurance business consists of two segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. Aflac Japan, which operates as a branch of Aflac, is the principal contributor to consolidated earnings. U.S. GAAP financial reporting requires that a company report financial and descriptive information about operating segments in its annual and interim period financial statements. Furthermore, we are required to report a measure of segment profit or loss, certain revenue and expense items, and segment assets.

We evaluate our sales efforts using new annualized premium sales, an industry operating measure. New annualized premium sales, which include both new sales and the incremental increase in premiums due to conversions, represent the premiums that we would collect over a 12-month period, assuming the policies remain in force. For Aflac Japan, new annualized premium sales are determined by applications submitted during the reporting period. For Aflac U.S., new annualized premium sales are determined by applications that are issued during the reporting period. Premium income, or earned premiums, is a financial performance measure that reflects collected or due premiums that have been earned ratably on policies in force during the reporting period.
AFLAC JAPAN SEGMENT
Aflac Japan Pretax Operating Earnings

Changes in Aflac Japan's pretax operating earnings and profit margins are primarily affected by morbidity, mortality, expenses, persistency and investment yields. The following table presents a summary of operating results for Aflac Japan for the years ended December 31.
Aflac Japan Summary of Operating Results
(In millions)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Net premium income
$
13,537

 
$
12,046

 
$
13,861

Net investment income:
 
 
 
 
 
Yen-denominated investment income
1,346

 
1,227

 
1,429

Dollar-denominated investment income
1,208

 
1,209

 
1,233

Net investment income
2,554

 
2,436

 
2,662

Other income (loss)
40

 
31

 
32

Total operating revenues
16,131

 
14,513

 
16,555

Benefits and claims, net
9,828

 
8,705

 
10,084

Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs
644

 
578

 
649

Insurance commissions
787

 
719

 
845

Insurance and other expenses
1,538

 
1,336

 
1,519

Total operating expenses
2,969

 
2,633

 
3,013

Total benefits and expenses
12,797

 
11,338

 
13,097

Pretax operating earnings(1)
$
3,334

 
$
3,175

 
$
3,458

Weighted-average yen/dollar exchange rate
108.70

 
120.99

 
105.46

  
In Dollars
 
In Yen
Percentage change over previous period:
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Net premium income
12.4
%

(13.1
)%
 
(7.5
)%

.8
 %
 
(.4
)%
 
.1
%
Net investment income
4.9

 
(8.5
)
 
.4

 
(5.8
)
 
4.8

 
8.8

Total operating revenues
11.2

 
(12.3
)
 
(6.4
)
 
(.3
)
 
.5

 
1.3

Pretax operating earnings(1)
5.0

 
(8.2
)
 
(4.7
)
 
(5.7
)
 
5.3

 
3.1

(1)See the Insurance Operations section of this MD&A for our definition of segment operating earnings.

Annualized premiums in force at December 31, 2016, were 1.61 trillion yen, compared with 1.62 trillion yen in 2015 and 1.59 trillion yen in 2014. The decrease in annualized premiums in force in yen of .7% in 2016 reflects the net effect of sales of new policies combined with limited-pay policies becoming paid-up and the persistency of Aflac Japan’s business.

44



The increases in annualized premiums in force in yen of 1.5% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2014 reflect the sales of new policies combined with the high persistency of Aflac Japan's business. Annualized premiums in force, translated into dollars at respective year-end exchange rates, were $13.8 billion in 2016, $13.4 billion in 2015, and $13.2 billion in 2014.

Aflac Japan's investment portfolios include U.S. dollar-denominated securities and reverse-dual currency securities (yen-denominated debt securities with dollar coupon payments). U.S. dollar-denominated investment income from these assets accounted for approximately 47% of Aflac Japan's investment income in 2016, compared with 50% in 2015 and 46% in 2014. In years when the yen strengthens in relation to the dollar, translating Aflac Japan's U.S. dollar-denominated investment income into yen lowers growth rates for net investment income, total operating revenues, and pretax operating earnings in yen terms. In years when the yen weakens, translating U.S. dollar-denominated investment income into yen magnifies growth rates for net investment income, total operating revenues, and pretax operating earnings in yen terms. Excluding foreign currency changes from the respective prior year (a non-U.S. GAAP measure), U.S. dollar-denominated investment income accounted for approximately 50% of Aflac Japan's investment income during 2016, compared with 46% in 2015 and 44% in 2014.

The following table illustrates the effect of translating Aflac Japan's U.S. dollar-denominated investment income and related items into yen by comparing certain segment results with those that would have been reported had yen/dollar exchange rates remained unchanged from the prior year. In order to compare the current year to the prior year without the impact of foreign currency, the current year's income statement is translated at the prior year's average exchange rate.
Aflac Japan Percentage Changes Over Prior Year
(Yen Operating Results)
  
Including Foreign
Currency Changes
 
Excluding Foreign
Currency Changes
(2)
  
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Net investment income
(5.8
)%
 
4.8
%
 
8.8
%
 
(.8
)%
 
(1.9
)%
 
4.8
%
Total operating revenues
(.3
)
 
.5

 
1.3

 
.6

 
(.6
)
 
.7

Pretax operating earnings(1)
(5.7
)
 
5.3

 
3.1

 
(2.0
)
 
.4

 
.3

(1)See the Insurance Operations section of this MD&A for our definition of segment operating earnings.
(2)Amounts excluding foreign currency impact on U.S. dollar-denominated items (a non-U.S. GAAP measure) were determined using the same yen/dollar exchange rate for the current year as each respective prior year.
The following table presents a summary of operating ratios in yen terms for Aflac Japan for the years ended December 31.
Ratios to total revenues:
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
Benefits and claims, net
60.9
%
 
60.0
%
 
60.9
%
 
Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amortization of deferred policy acquisition costs
4.0