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UnitedHealth & AXA remain world’s largest insurers by NPW

3rd December 2019 - Author: Luke Gallin

Three Japanese insurers have dropped out of the list of the world’s 25 largest insurance companies by net premiums written (NPW) in 2018, while UnitedHealth Group Incorporated and AXA remain in the top spots.

With NPW of more than $178 billion, in 2018, the world’s largest insurance company remains UnitedHealth Group Incorporated, which experienced premium growth of more than 12% in the year.

As in 2017, French insurer AXA sits second on the list with NPW of more than $103 billion in 2018, which is growth of 3.22% on the amount recorded in 2017. With growth of almost 20% in 2018, China’s Ping An Insurance moved up the list one place to third, with NPW of $101.8 billion.

A slight decline in NPW for China Life Insurance Company saw the firm move to fourth on the list, while NPW growth of more than 10% saw Kaiser Foundation Group of Health Plans jump two places to fifth in 2018, as Allianz fell to seventh with NPW of $83.2 billion, which is actually still growth on the previous year.

Interestingly, the three companies to drop out of the list in 2018 are all Japanese firms, including Tokio Marine, MS&AD, and Japan Post. These are replaced in the list of the world’s top insurance companies by NPW by Liberty Mutual, MetLife, and Healthcare Services Corp.

Of the new entries, MetLife sits the highest on the list in 21st place with NPW of $43.84 billion in 2018, while Liberty Mutual sits in 24th place with NPW of $39.1 billion and Health Care Services Corp in 25th, with NPW of $38 billion in 2018.

In NPW ranking, U.S. domiciled health insurers recorded the biggest moves in 2018, underlined by Centene which jumped six places to 12th on the list, with NPW growth of almost 25% to $57.3 billion.

The biggest decline in premiums recorded for the year can be seen with Prudential, which saw its NPW decline by almost 21% to $42.2 billion as the firm dropped from 13th place on the list to 22nd.

Reinsurance giant Munich Re, with NPW of $53.5 billion in 2018, fell from 12th on the list in 2017 to 15th in 2018, which is a decline of 1.77% year-on-year. Despite experiencing a decline in NPW of nearly 5% to $59.2 billion, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway again sits 11th on the list of the world’s largest insurance companies ranked by NPW.

When ranked by non-banking assets at year-end 2018, the list is somewhat different and is led by AXA with total non-banking assets of more than $1 trillion, up 6.71% on 2017. AXA replaced Allianz at the top of the list, with the German insurer recording total non-banking asset growth of more than 1% to $994.4 billion in 2018.

Prudential Financial came in third place for the second-year in a row, despite assets actually declining by more than 2% to $815 billion. The top five is completed by Japan’s Nippon Life Insurance Company in third, which climbed from seventh place in 2017 and Berkshire Hathaway, which jumped one place from sixth to fifth, year-on-year.

This World’s Largest Insurance Companies directory is based on research data from rating agency A.M. Best. The largest insurance groups in the world featured in these lists are ranked by net premiums written in 2018 and net non-banking assets.

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