Ward Group, provider of benchmarking and best practices services to the insurance industry, has announced the 2012 Ward’s 50 top performing life/health insurers. Each Ward's 50 company has passed all safety and consistency screens and achieved superior performance over the five years analyzed. This is the 22nd year Ward Group has conducted the analysis.

Ward Group analyzes the financial performance of nearly 800 life/health insurers in the United States annually and identifies top performers in each segment. The Ward’s 50 life/health group of insurance companies produced a 19.0 percent statutory return on average equity from 2007 to 2011 compared with 3.4 percent for the life/health industry overall.

“Financial returns for insurers declined in 2011 due to many factors,” said Jeff Rieder, partner and head of Ward Group. “Although results declined in nearly every sector of the industry, policy-holder surplus and overall financial stability for the industry remains very strong. Companies are investing in new systems, improving internal processes and focusing on developing new capabilities to meet customer demands. In selecting the Ward’s 50, we identify companies that pass financial stability requirements and measure their ability to grow while maintaining strong capital positions and underwriting results.”

 

Safety and Consistency Tests

Insurers must pass minimum thresholds to be considered for the Ward’s 50 designation. Each must pass primary safety and consistency tests, including:

Surplus and premiums of at least $50 million for each of the five years analyzed

Adjusted net income in at least four of the last five years

Compound annual growth in premiums between -10 percent and +40 percent

 

Performance Measurements

Insurers then are measured and scored on the following elements:

Five year average return on average equity

Five year average return on average assets

Five year average return on total revenue

Five year growth in revenue

Five year growth in surplus

 

Key Performance Benchmarks

An important objective of the Ward’s 50 is to compare the group’s performance with the rest of the industry. In addition to achieving greater levels of income returns, the Ward’s 50 benchmarks also outperformed in other key performance benchmarks.

The Ward’s 50 life/health group outpaced the industry for five year policy-holder surplus growth (45.6 percent compared with 22.2 percent)

The Ward’s 50 life/health group outpaced the industry net premium income growth (42.0 percent compared with 5.0 percent).

 

In addition to achieving higher financial returns, the Ward’s 50 benchmark continues to achieve lower expense ratios.

“The expense ratio has been declining slowly for both the life/health and property/casualty industries but still remains higher than historical levels,” Rieder said. “Our research finds the Ward’s 50 benchmarks gain significant advantages by effectively managing expenses,” Rieder said.

In 2011, expenses relative to revenue were 4.6 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 life/health group.

 

2012 Ward’s 50 Companies - Life and Health

Aetna Life Insurance Co.

AFLAC

Amalgamated Life Insurance Co.

American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

American Family Life Insurance Co.

 

American Fidelity Assurance Co.

Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance. Co.

Amica Life Insurance Co.

Auto-Owners Life Insurance Co.

Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Co.

 

BlueBonnet Life Insurance Co.

Central United Life Insurance Co.

CICA Life Insurance Co. of America

CIGNA Group

Combined Insurance Co. of America

 

Companion Life Insurance Co.

Family Heritage Life Insurance Co. of America

Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co.

Federated Life Insurance Co.

Fidelity Security Life Insurance Co.

 

First Investors Life Insurance Co.

Forethought Life Insurance Co.

Funeral Directors Life Insurance Co.

General Re Life Insurance Corporation

Great American Life Insurance Co.

 

HCC Life Insurance Co.

HM Life Insurance Co.

Homesteaders Life Co.

Humana Insurance Co.

Liberty National Life Insurance Co.

 

Life Insurance Co. of the Southwest

LifeCare Assurance Co.

LifeWise Assurance Co.

Midland National Life Insurance Co.

National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Co.

 

National Western Life Insurance Co.

New York Life Insurance Co.

Oxford Life Insurance Co.

Ozark National Life Insurance Co.

Protective Life Insurance Co.

 

Pyramid Life Insurance Co.

Standard Insurance Co.

Symetra Life Insurance Co.

Tennessee Farmers Life Insurance Co.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

 

Trustmark Insurance Co.

United Insurance Co. of America

UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co.

USAA Life Insurance Co.

USAble Life Insurance Co.

 

To see the 2011 life/health, list click here.  To see the 2012 property/casualty list, click here

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