AXA, Japan Post Top Best’s List of World’s Largest Insurers

By | January 4, 2012

France’s AXA S.A. has again topped the list of the world’s 25 largest insurance companies, based on premiums written, compiled by A.M. Best. The lists, which were compiled both on asset value and on net premiums written, reflects the dominance of the life insurers, as no purely P/C company made the top 10. State Farm came in at No. 12 based on premiums written.

Best released the rankings of the world’s largest global insurance companies in the latest edition – January 2 – of its BestWeek publication. They were compiled from BestLink data and additional research.

Best placed Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. in second place. AXA had $107.9 billion in net premiums written in 2010, up 0.2 percent from the previous year. Generali’s net premiums rose 2.87 percent to $87.17 billion last year. Both companies held the same ranking a year earlier. The UnitedHealth Group was the only U.S. insurer was ranked third, based on premiums written with $85.405 billion.

However, Best noted that “another U.S.-based insurer that made a significant move on the ranking,” was Berkshire Hathaway, which joined the top 25. It was previously in 26th place, but “the Warren Buffett-led group came in at No. 24, with premiums of $30.9 billion.”

Japan Post Insurance Co. Ltd. led the ranking measured by nonbanking assets. It is in a class by itself with $1.09 trillion, repeat trillion, in assets in 2010. AXA’s net assets were calculated at $920.476 billion, while Allianz is third with $807.486 billion. Best noted that, although Japan Post’s “assets slipped 5.26 percent from 2009, the Japanese government-linked insurer retained its top spot.

“MetLife moved into the top five in the ranking based on assets, fueled by its $16.2 billion acquisition of American Life Insurance Co.,” which it acquired from American International Group. The ALICO acquisition “expanded its international presence, especially in Japan, where it’s now a top player in the supplemental health insurance market,” said Best. “Meanwhile, AIG slid from No. 3 to No. 5, with assets of $683.4 billion.”

The top ten global insurers ranked by nonbanking assets in thesurvey are:
1. Japan Post Insurance Co., Ltd., Japan
2. AXA S.A., France
3. Allianz SE, Germany
4. MetLife Inc, United States
5. American International Group, Inc, United States
6. AVIVA plc, United Kingdom
7. Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., Italy
8. Prudential Financial Inc, United States
9. Nippon Life Insurance Company, Japan
10. Legal & General Group plc, United Kingdom

The top ten global insurers ranked by net premiums written are:
1. AXA S.A., France
2. Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., Italy
3. UnitedHealth Group Inc, United States
4. Allianz SE, Germany
5. Japan Post Insurance Co., Ltd., Japan
6. National Mutual Insurance Fed. Agricultural Coop, Japan
7. Munich Reinsurance Company, Germany
8. WellPoint Inc., United States
9. AVIVA plc, United Kingdom
10. China Life Insurance (Group) Company, China

Source: A.M. Best

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