The top 25 life/health insurance writers continue to set the pace for the larger U.S. industry, which saw a 2.6% increase in nine-month net premiums written to $424.2 billion. The increase is the first since year-end 2008, according to A.M. Best, which released its list of Top 25 U.S. Life/Health writers today.

The industry’s total admitted assets grew 4.6% to $5.1 trillion from year-end 2009, helped by modest increases in separate account assets, notes the report. Capital and surplus, including the asset valuation reserve, continued to experience modest improvement, resulting in a 9% increase to $338.9 billion from year-end 2009. An after-tax net operating gain of $26.0 billion was recorded, approximately 31% below the prior year period.

The top 25 writers (ranked by nine-month 2010 admitted assets) accounted for the following percentages of key financial results for the U.S. life/health industry: admitted assets (78.2%); separate account assets (88.6%); net premiums written (67.0%); after-tax net operating gain (67.8%); realized capital losses (72.0%); and capital and surplus plus the asset valuation reserve (66.9%).

“The top 25 writers have not experienced any significant shifts (in ranking) in the last few quarters,” Richard Kirk, senior business information analyst for A.M. Best’s Financial Suite, told Insurance Networking News. “These companies, which represent 78% of the total industry, are known for their longevity in the business.”

Kirk frames the results against the economic crisis, noting that the industry continues to recover, as evidenced by improvements in a majority of the key financial results reviewed in the statistical study. “It will be interesting to track the progress in net premiums written relative to challenges posed by (but not limited to) high unemployment, modest U.S. economic growth and continued uncertainty,” Kirk added.

 

Top 25 U.S. Life/Health Writers — 9-Month 2010

Ranked by 9-month 2010 admitted assets ($ Thousands) as of September 30, 2010, the following comprise the top 25 U.S. life/health writers:

 

Metropolitan Life & Affiliated Cos $472,842,713

Prudential of America Group 391,083,487

AIG Life Group 318,392,857

Manulife Finl 231,086,737

Hartford Life Group 225,330,890

TIAA Group* 214,955,983

NY Life Group 211,534,633

ING USA Life Group 180,011,623

Aegon USA Group 179,919,547

Northwestern Mutual Group 176,537,111

Lincoln Finl Group 163,892,583

Axa Finl Group 145,562,709

MassMutual Finl Group 138,989,733

Principal Life Group 119,661,556

Pacific Life Group 100,829,371

Nationwide Life Group 97,150,026

Jackson Natl Group 92,687,753

Ameriprise Finl Group 91,563,222

Aflac Inc Group 86,449,749

Allianz Ins Group 83,338,913

Allstate Finl 69,705,295

Genworth Finl Group 63,385,408

Thrivent Finl for Lutherans Group 60,537,026

State Farm Life Group 51,947,862

Great-West Life Group 49,535,102

 

Total Admitted Assets for Top 25 Writers: $4,016,931,890

Total Admitted Assets for Top 100 Writers: $5,029,277,729 \

Total U.S. Life/Health Industry: $5,134,400,872

 

*TIAA’s assets are significantly understated, notes A.M. Best. Most of its separate account assets are in its affiliate, CREF.

 

The full results are included in a study of the insurance industry’s 2010 nine-month financial results, available to subscribers of Best's Statement File – Life/Health – US database.

 

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Corrected December 10, 2010 at 11:50AM: yes