Ward Group, provider of benchmarking and best practices services to the insurance industry, has announced the 2014 Ward’s 50 top performing property/casualty insurers.

The Ward’s 50 produced a 10.6-percent statutory return on average equity from 2009 to 2013, compared to 6.9 percent for the P&C 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 24th year Ward Group has conducted the analysis.

See also: 2013 Ward’s 50 P&C Insurers Announced

The Ward’s 50 life/health group of insurance companies produced a 21.8 percent statutory return on average equity from 2009 to 2013 compared to 8.1 percent for the life/health industry overall.  

“Most insurers saw improvements in both financial returns and overall premium levels,” said Jeff Rieder, partner and head of Ward Group. “In clear signs of continued optimism, our research shows considerable investments are being made in technology, product enhancements and identifying ways to deliver a better customer experience. Companies will be challenged to manage the costs of these initiatives, but have strong financial positions to support the investments. Total policyholder surplus continues to grow and overall financial stability for the industry remains very strong. In selecting the Ward’s 50, we identified companies that pass financial stability requirements and measure their ability to grow while maintaining strong capital positions and underwriting results.”

Insurers were evaluated and passed minimum thresholds to be considered for the Ward’s 50 designation, 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 for P&C insurers; adjusted net income in at least four of the last five years for life/health insurers; and compound annual growth in premiums between -10 percent and +40 percent.

Performance Measurements

Insurers that pass the safety and consistency tests are then measured and scored on the following:

  • 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 for P&C insurers
  • Five year average combined ratio for P&C insurers
  • Five year growth in surplus for life/health insurers

In addition to achieving greater levels of income returns, the Ward’s 50 benchmarks outperformed in other key performance measures. The Ward’s 50 life/health group outpaced the industry for five year policyholder surplus growth, with 42.5 percent compared to 25.3 percent, and net premium income growth of 22.7 percent compared to 16.6 percent.
The Ward’s 50 P&C group compared 7.6 points lower for the five year combined ratio, with 94.7 percent compared to 102.3 percent, and since 2009 increased policyholder surplus by 28.0 percent compared to 20.0 percent for the industry. Net premiums written for the Ward’s 50 P&C group grew 14.4 percent compared to the industry’s 10.8 percent growth.

The Ward’s 50 benchmark continues to achieve lower expense ratios.

“The expense ratio declined slightly in 2013 for the property-casualty benchmark but increased for the life/health benchmark. We still find the Ward’s 50 benchmarks comparing better than the industry average,” Rieder said, adding that in 2013, expenses relative to revenue were 9.2 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 P&C group of companies and 14.0 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 life/health group.

Wards Top 50 P&C Insurers

ACE American Insurance Company


Alaska National Insurance Company

Alleghany Group

Allstate Insurance Company

American Financial Group


The Andover Companies

Assurant Group

Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group

Chubb Group

Cincinnati Insurance Group


The Doctors Company

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group

Erie Insurance Group

First Insurance Company of Hawaii, LTD

FM Global

Franklin Mutual Insurance Group


Goodville Mutual Casualty Company

HCC Insurance Holdings Group

Island Insurance Companies

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company

Lackawanna Casualty Company

Markel Corporation Group

Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company

MMG Insurance Company

Munich Reinsurance America, Inc

Nodak Mutual Insurance Company

North Star Mutual Insurance Company

Pacific Specialty Insurance Company

Philadelphia Insurance Companies


Progressive Insurance Group

RLI Insurance Company*

Rural Mutual Insurance Company

SECURA Insurance Companies

Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Travelers Insurance Group

United Educators

USAA Group*

Utica First Insurance Company

Vermont Mutual Insurance Company

W.R. Berkley Corporation

West Bend Mutual

Western Mutual Insurance Group

Western National Insurance Group

Westfield Insurance

Zurich American Insurance Company

* 24-year recipient, 1991-2014.

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