There are a number of ways to rank the size of insurance companies. Companies can be measured by their market capitalization (the value of the company on a stock exchange) or by using sales figures, such as net premiums written in a year or how many policies were sold. Here, we examine the top 10 largest insurance companies by market cap, market share, and revenues.
- Insurance companies are important players in the global financial economy, although they may not be as flashy as investment banks or hedge funds.
- Insurance companies come in many sizes and specialize in different policy lines, from health to life to property & casualty.
- Market capitalization, or market cap, is the value of a company's outstanding shares.
- Some insurance companies are mutually owned, in which the policyholders are the owners.
- When ranking insurance companies, it's important to categorize them according to their product line.
Largest Insurance Companies by Market Capitalization
Market capitalization, or market cap, is the total value of a company's stock, and it is calculated by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by the current share price. It is a quick way of determining the value of a company in the eyes of investors.
Companies with large market caps are generally established conservative investments. They likely experience steady growth and offer the least amount of risk. Mid-cap companies are also established but have high growth potential. Lastly, small-cap companies are often new companies with high growth potential. Investing in these companies poses the greatest risk because they are more vulnerable to economic downturns than the more established large and mid-cap companies.
Investors can buy shares of publicly-traded companies in the insurance industry. The largest non-health insurance companies by market capitalization on the world stock exchanges as of Q1 2022 are:
Publicly Traded Non-health Insurance Companies
|Berkshire Hathaway (U.S.)
|Ping An Insurance (China)
|AIA Group (Hong Kong)
|China Life Insurance (China)
|Zurich Insurance (Switzerland)
Market cap data as of March 1, 2022. Source: Yahoo! Finance
Publicly Traded Health Insurance and Managed Health Care Companies
|| Market Capitalization
|United Healthcare (UNH)
|Centene Corporation (CNC)
|Molina Healthcare (MOH)
|Bright Health Group (BHG)
|MultiPlan Corporation (MPLN)
|Alignment Healthcare (ALHC)
Market cap data as of March 1, 2022. Source: Yahoo! Finance
Not all insurance companies are publicly traded. In fact, many insurers are structured as mutual companies, where policyholders of participating policies are essentially partial owners of the company. The mutual company model for an insurance company dates back hundreds of years, and there are certain benefits conferred on policyholders that do not exist with publicly traded (stock company) insurers.
American Family Insurance is the largest mutual insurance company in the U.S.
Largest Insurance Companies by Sales and Product Line
It is useful to differentiate between the type of insurance, or line, that is being considered when considering the largest insurance companies. Using sales data is helpful as some of the largest insurance companies in the United States are not publicly traded and therefore their market value is not easily ascertained.
Property & Casualty
Property and casualty insurers write policies covering property such as real estate, dwellings, cars, and other vehicles. They also write policies dealing with liabilities that may be incurred by accident or negligence related to those properties to defray the cost of lawsuits or medical damages resulting from such incidents.
The top U.S. property and casualty companies in 2020 by net premiums written (the amount of money that non-life policies can expect to receive over the life of the contract, less commissions and costs) are:
|| Net Premiums Written
|State Farm Group
|Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)
|Progressive Insurance Group (PGR)
|Allstate Insurance Group (ALL)
|Travelers Group (TRV)
|Farmers Insurance Group
Life Insurance Companies
Life Insurance companies promise to pay out a lump sum benefit upon the death of the insured. Although actuarial science has created mortality tables to accurately estimate the future liability of policies to be paid, having financial strength ensures that these companies can meet all of their obligations while still earning a profit.
Life Insurance companies in the U.S. can be ranked by direct premium written (the number of new policies written directly and not re-insured). For 2020:
|| Total Direct Premium
|| Market Share
|New York Life Grp
|Metropolitan Group (MET)
|Prudential of America (PRU)
|Minnesota Mutual Grp
Health Insurance Companies
Health insurance companies provide policies to cover all or part of the policyholder's health and medical costs. Policies may be purchased individually or through an employer. Technically, the United States government is the largest health insurance provider in America through the Medicare program, Social Security, and Medicaid administered by individual states.
Based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) 2020 report, the largest non-government sponsored U.S. health insurance companies measured by total direct premium collected were:
||Total Direct Premium
|UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
|CVS Healthcare (CVS)
What Do the CEOs of the Largest Health Insurance Companies Make?
The following CEOs of the 6 largest health insurance companies make over $15 million annually:
- Michael Neidorff of Centene earns $26.4 million
- David Cordani of Cigna earns $19.1 million
- David Wichmann of UnitedHealth Group earns $18.9 million
- Joseph Zubretsky of Molina Healthcare earns $18 million
- Bruce Broussard of Human earns $16.7 million
- Gail Boudreaux of Anthem earns $15.5 million
Are the Large Insurance Companies Good Investments?
Investing in insurance companies can be a safe option for some investors. Insurance companies are founded to deal with risk, which can ultimately reduce the risks associated with investing in them. Health insurance, subject to rapid changes, has the potential for significant growth compared to other types of insurance companies.
Who Are the Largest Investors in Insurance Companies?
The largest investors in insurance companies are generally other institutions. For example, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) has 4,124 institutional owners, who hold more than one billion shares.
What Are the Largest Homeowners Insurance Companies in the U.S.?
The five largest homeowners insurance companies in the U.S. are State Farm, Allstate, USAA, Liberty Mutual, and Farmers.
Together, these companies hold more than 45% of the homeowners' insurance market share.
What Are the Largest Insurance Companies in Canada?
The five largest insurance companies in Canada are Manulife Financial Corporation, Great-West Lifeco, Desjardins, Sun Life Financial, and Fairfax Financial.
Manulife is Canada's largest insurance company, employing over 35,000 employees and serving more than 30 million customers.
The Bottom Line
Ranking the largest insurance companies can be done in a number of ways. Shares of publicly traded companies can be bought to help build a well-diversified investment portfolio that has exposure to the financial and healthcare sectors. Identifying which types of insurance a company primarily deals with helps determine which firms are competitors and which really are not. Looking at sales figures, or premiums collected in a year, one can also see how public companies stack up against privately held or mutual companies which make up a large segment of the industry.
Investopedia does not provide investment or financial advice. The information is presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.