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Did you know that car insurance rates constantly fluctuate and vary each month? Or more than 4 in 5 Americans don’t ask for car insurance discounts. Just 16% of Americans have asked their car insurance provider for common discounts, according to a new report. The survey asked about low mileage, marriage, occupational, good student, and defensive driver discounts. All of these need to be self-reported and can save drivers a substantial amount of money – that is, if the consumer takes the time to inform the insurance company.

* Someone who drives 5,000 miles annually pays an average of 8% less than someone who drives 15,000 miles each year. The average savings is highest in California (25%), followed by Washington, D.C. and Alaska (both 11%). The only state that doesn’t reward drivers for logging fewer miles is North Carolina.

* Insurance companies also charge less to married people, but only 13% of Americans have let their insurance carrier know that they tied the knot. The savings is greatest for young adults (a married 20-year-old pays 21% less than a single 20-year-old). The gap narrows to 7% at age 25 and around 2% after age 30.

* Certain occupations (e.g., teachers, nurses and accountants) are viewed as safer drivers and qualify for discounts from many insurance companies. But again, few Americans are asking for this discount (just 8% have done so).

All car insurers give good student discounts, yet just 21% of millennials and 20% of the overall population have asked for one of these. The percentages are similar for defensive driving courses.

These discounts can add up to hundreds of dollars per year, and in many cases, they reward people for things they were already doing. We encourage everyone to be proactive and seek potential discounts at least once a year as it should only take a few minutes.

Top 10 Auto Insurance Companies in the USA

1) Progressive: This is a multi-dimensional company offering not only auto insurance, but bike, watercraft, Segway, RV and snowmobiles. It was established in 1937 and has the honor of selling the maximum number of commercial auto policies through independent agents operating via brokers. It has earned a credit rating of A+, which is excellent. They even have an innovative offer for their clients known as “name your price” in which potential clients can counteroffer the quote they give.

2) Geico: Government Employees Insurance Company is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and provides private auto insurance in all of the fifty states. They are easily recognizable from their commercials on the air. They pledge outstanding customer service and promise to help in obtaining the least expensive auto insurance policy. Additionally, they offer their customers several payment options which makes them a favorite with potential clients.

3) Allstate: Allstate provides a wide range of policy options that suit the needs of a wide variety of customers. Allstate is known for the competitive rates they offer, along with safe driving incentives and accident forgiveness. They have been ranked as one of the top insurance companies for 70 years. They provide four different packages so one is sure to find one that suits their individual needs. In fact, some even claim that this company is ideal for teenagers and the elderly.

4) State Farm: Discounts are one of the favorite things about an insurance provider and this company makes sure its customers get plenty of variety. Consumers can save a significant amount, up to 40 percent, with State Farm.

5) Nationwide: This Company was founded in 1925 under the name of The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and is now one of the largest financial organizations in the world. In 1955, it officially became known as Nationwide and is today one of the most financially strong auto insurers in the USA. They keep their customers happy by providing them with many low cost insurance options.

6) Farmers: Founded in 1928, is proud to serve more than 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 24,000 employees.

7) Liberty Mutual: Established in 1912, they are a financially sound company with a credit rating of “A”. In addition to auto cover, they also offer home and life insurance. This is a full service company providing comprehensive auto policies at very competitive rates. Liberty Manual has not only been rated as one of the top auto insurance companies in USA, but has a wide network of financial services in 20 countries throughout the world.

8) 21st Century: This company works in collaboration with some of the best auto insurance companies. They are able to provide their customers a large variety of insurance products in addition to auto insurance.

9) Esurance: This company receives high ratings from its customers for its outstanding customer service and claims process. Esurance is a green company. It prides itself with its paper reduction and reforestation efforts. It offers lower rates than many of its competitors because it is an internet based business. Policy discounts offered by Esurance include Good Driver, Good Student, Multi-Vehicle, Multi-Policy, Anti-Theft, Advanced Safety Features, Low Mileage, Corporate Affiliate, Loyalty, Occupational and Single Parent.

10) Mercury: This company offers non-standard car insurance to individuals that are unable to secure coverage through standard insurance companies. This can be due to a driving record with accidents and/or tickets, prior DUI, the driver’s age, vehicle type, or others.

You’d never buy a car without shopping around. And if you were shopping for an eco-forward hybrid, you wouldn’t spend your time checking out muscle cars. So why should your car insurance be any different? To make sure you get the most bang for your buck, it’s always a good idea to shop around and compare plans that are similar. Enter your zip code above and see how much you can save today!

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.

Largest Public Insurance Companies by Market Capitalization

Investors can buy shares of publicly traded companies in the insurance industry. The largest insurance companies as of Q1 2014 by market capitalization on the world stock exchanges are:

Non-health Insurance Companies:

Company Name — Market Capitalization
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)—$308 billion
China Life Insurance (LFC)—$80 billion
Allianz (AZSEY)—$76.8 billion
American International Group (AIG)—$72.3 billion
Ping An of China (PNGAY)—$65.6 billion
MetLife (MET)—$59.4 billion
AXA (AXA)—$57.8 billion
AIA Group Hong Kong (AAIGF)—$54.4 billion
ING Groep (ING)—$54.4 billion
Zurich Insurance (ZURVY)—$45.4 Billion
(Source: Thompson Reuters)

Health Insurance and Managed Health Care Companies:

Company Name—Market Capitalization
United Healthcare (UNH)—$91.8 billion
Wellpoint (WLP)—$34.3 billion
Aetna (AET)—$29.8 billion
CIGNA Corp. (CI)—$26.8 billion
Humana (HUM)—$21.1 billion
Centene Corp. (CNC)—$5.7 billion
Health Net, Inc. (HNT)—$3.9 billion
WellCare Health Plans (WCG)—$3.1 billion
Healthspring (HS)—$3.7 billion
Molina Healthcare (MOH)—$2.4 billion
(Source: Thompson Reuters)

Not all insurance companies are publicly traded. In fact, many insurers are structured as mutual companies where policy holders of participating policies are essentially partial owners of the company. The mutual company model for an insurance company dates back hundred of years, and there are certain benefits conferred on policyholders that do not exist with publicly traded (stock company) insurers.

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 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 casualty companies in 2013 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:

Company—Net Premiums Written
State Farm Group—$50.8 billion
Allstate Insurance Group (ALL)—$24.8 billion
Liberty Mutual—$21.5 billion
Berkshire Hathaway (includes GEICO)—$21.4 billion
Travelers Group (TRV)—$20.6 billion
American International Group (AIG)—$19.7 billion
Nationwide Group—$14.5 billion
Progressive Insurance Group (PGR)—$14.5 billion
Farmers Insurance Group—$14.1 billion
USAA Group—$10.7 billion
(Source A.M. Best)

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 amount of new policies written directly and not re-insured). For 2013:

Company—Total Direct Premium—Market Share
MetLife (MET)—$11.5 billion—7.98%
Northwestern Mutual—$9.4 billion—6.55%
Prudential of America (PRU)—$8.4 billion—5.79%
New York Life—$7.8 billion—5.42%
Lincoln National—$6.1 billion—4.27%
MassMutual—$5.1 billion—3.52%
John Hancock—$4.8 billion—3.37%
Aegon (AEG)—$4.1 billion—2.82%
State Farm—$4.0 billion—2.79%
Guardian Life Insurance Co.—$3.4 billion—2.34%
(Source: NAIC)

Health Insurance Companies

Health insurance companies provide policies to cover all or part of 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 with Medicaid administered by individual states.

The largest non-government sponsored U.S. health insurance companies measured by total direct premium collected was:

Company—Total Direct Premium—Market Share
United Healthcare (UNH)—$66.8 billion—11.70%
Wellpoint Group (WLP)—$55.7 billion—9.75%
Kaiser Permanente—$43.7 billion—7.66%
Humana (HUM)—$21.7 billion—3.81%
Aetna (AET)—$21.7 billion—3.81%
Health Care Service Corp—$14.9 billion—2.60%
American Family—$11.6 billion—2.04%
Highmark—$11.4 billion—2.01%
Blue Cross/Blue Shield—$9.8 billion—1.72%
Cigna (CI)—$9.6 billion—1.69%
(Source: NAIC. Caveat emptor: The sales data on health insurance companies is from 2007, the last year of available data. The Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’) may have altered these standings.)

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.

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