Cincinnati  – New technology, changing customer and employee demographics and a heated competitive marketplace did not stop some carriers from achieving excellence, according to Ward Group.

The Cincinnati-based consulting firm that specializes in the insurance industry and a provider of benchmarking and best practices services released its annual list of top 50 performing insurance companies this week.

Ward Group analyzes the financial performance of insurance companies domiciled in the United States and identifies the top performers, known as one of the Ward’s 50. Each Ward's 50 company has passed all safety and consistency screens, and achieved superior performance over the five years analyzed. More than 3,000 P&C and more than 850 life-health insurance companies were included in the analysis.

"It is important for companies to remain focused on meeting revenue goals while maintaining an efficient operating model that enables them to meet customer demands," explains Jeff Rieder, president of Ward Group. "The best companies excel at balancing expense management, technology deployment and customer service." The Ward's 50 property/casualty insurance companies produced an 18.7% return on average equity from 2003 to 2007, compared to 14.6% for the property/casualty industry overall. The Ward's 50 life-health insurance companies produced a 17.5% return on average equity from 2003 to 2007, compared to 13.1% for the life-health industry overall.

50 Top Performers - Life-Health Companies (listed alphabetically):

Aetna Life Insurance Company
AIG SunAmerica Life Insurance Company
Alfa Life Insurance Corporation
American Family Life Insurance Company
American National Insurance Company
Amica Life Insurance Company
Anthem Blue Cross Life & Health Insurance Co.
Auto-Owners Life Insurance Company
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
Centurion Life Insurance Company
Cincinnati Life Insurance Company
Combined Insurance Company of America
Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company of Michigan
Federated Life Insurance Company
Fidelity Investments Life Insurance Company
Genworth Life Insurance Company
Gerber Life Insurance Company
The Hartford Life Insurance Company
Liberty National Life Insurance Company
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
Midland National Life Insurance Company
National Life Insurance Company
Nationwide Life Insurance Company
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Pekin Life Insurance Company
Primerica Life Insurance Company
Principal Life Insurance Company
Prudential Insurance Company of America
Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company
RiverSource Life Insurance Company
Sentry Life Insurance Company
Shelter Life Insurance Company
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co.
Standard Insurance Company
State Farm Life Insurance Company
Symetra Life Insurance Company
Tennessee Farmers Life Insurance Company
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Union Security Insurance Company
United Healthcare Insurance Company
United Insurance Company of America
United Life Insurance Company
USAA Life Insurance Company
USAble Life Insurance Company
Western & Southern Life Insurance Company

2008 Ward's 50 Top Performers - Property-Casualty Companies (listed alphabetically):

Allstate Insurance Company
American Modern Insurance Group
Amerisure Companies
Assurant Group
Auto-Owners Insurance Group*
Central Insurance Companies
Chubb Group
Church Mutual Insurance Company
Cincinnati Insurance Group*
Columbia Insurance Group
The Com erce Group Inc.
Donega Insurance Group
EMC Insurance Companies
Erie Insurance Group
Federated Mutual Group
Fireman's Fund Insurance Group
FM Global
GMAC Insurance Group
Great American Insurance Companies
The Hartford Fire Group
HCC Insurance Holdings Group
IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company
Island Insurance Companies Group
Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.
Louisiana Workers' Compensation Corporation
Markel Corporation Group
Mercury Casualty Group
Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.
North Star Mutual Insurance Company
Old Republic Insurance Group
Pekin Insurance Group
Philadelphia Insurance Companies
Progressive Casualty Insurance Company
Protective Insurance Group
RLI Insurance Group*
Safety Insurance Group
SECURA Insurance Companies
Selective Insurance Company of America
Shelter Insurance Group
Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Co.
Travelers Insurance Group United Fire & Casualty Group
USAA Group*
Utica National Insurance Group
West Bend Mutual
W.R. Berkley Corporation Group

*18-year recipient (1991-2008)

The Ward's 50 benchmarks are available in Ward's Results, an insurance industry financial reference series.

Sources: Ward Group, PR Newswire, FoxBusiness

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