Ward Group, provider of benchmarking and best practices services to the insurance industry, has announced the 2012 Ward’s 50 top performing property/casualty insurers.

The Ward’s 50 produced an 11.2 percent statutory return-on-average equity from 2007 to 2011, compared with 5.9 percent for the property/casualty industry overall. 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.

“Financial returns for insurers declined in 2011 due to many factors including severe catastrophes, competitive pricing, low interest rates, high unemployment and sluggish economic growth,” said Jeff Rieder, partner and head of Ward Group. “Although results declined in nearly every sector of the industry, policyholder 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

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 Improvement in Surplus to Written Premium

Five Year Average Combined Ratio


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 property/casualty group compared 10.0 points lower for the five year combined ratio (92.8 percent compared with 102.8 percent)

Grew policyholder surplus by 26.4 percent compared with 8.6 percent for the industry since 2007.

Net premiums written for the Ward’s 50 property/casualty group grew 11.8 percent compared with the industry’s 2.1 percent growth.


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.”

In 2011, expenses relative to revenue were 7.3 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 property/casualty group of companies.


Property/Casualty Ward's 50 Companies - 2012

ACE American Insurance Company


Alaska National Insurance Company

Alleghany Group

American Financial Group


Ameriprise Financial


Assurant Group

Auto Club Enterprise Insurance Group

Bear River Mutual Insurance Company


Capital Insurance Group

Chubb Group


CSE Insurance Group

The Doctors Company


Eastern Alliance Insurance Group

Erie Insurance Group

Federated Mutual Group

First Insurance Company of Hawaii, LTD

Franklin Mutual Insurance Group



Goodville Mutual Casualty Company

GUARD Insurance Group

GuideOne Insurance

HCC Insurance Holdings Group


Infinity P&C Insurance Group

Island Insurance Companies Group

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

Lackawanna Casualty Company

Lancer Insurance Company


The Main Street America Group

Markel Corporation Group

Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Munich Reinsurance America Inc.

North Star Mutual Insurance Company


Ohio Mutual Insurance Group

Pacific Specialty Insurance Company

Philadelphia Insurance Companies


Progressive Insurance Group


RLI Insurance Group*

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

Safety Insurance Group

Star Insurance Co.

Travelers Insurance Group


USAA Group*

Vermont Mutual Insurance Company

W.R. Berkley Corporation Group

Western Mutual Insurance Group

Western National Insurance Group


*22-year recipient (1991-2012)


To see the 2011 P&C list, click here.  For the 2012 life/health results, click here.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Digital Insurance content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access