What is the usual profit margin for a company in the insurance sector?

The best estimates of the average insurance company net profit margin are between 3 and 8%, with a likely median average around 4 to 5%. Health and property and casualty insurance (which includes auto insurance) tend to provide higher profit margins than life insurance. The average profit margin for insurance brokers is higher than that for the insurance industry overall, with average net profits for brokers of approximately 10%.

Like all other businesses, companies in the insurance sector incur costs and sell products, and must find a profitable balance between operating costs and the prices that the market will bear. Costs for firms in the insurance business include the money that the insurer pays to service providers. For health insurers, this would be payments made to hospitals or doctors. In the case of automotive insurance, this includes payments made to repair shops.

An insurance company’s profit margin can change significantly as a result of fluctuations in costs. Changes in the costs of services rendered, policy price changes and the number of claims received are all factors that can cause an insurance company’s profit margin to change from year to year. For the purposes of long-term evaluations of companies in the insurance business, analysts consider annualized profit margin data to be the most useful information.
The calculation of profit margins is chiefly significant to companies in the insurance sector because the values are so low. Many insurance firms operate on profit margins as low as 2 to 3%. Smaller profit margins mean that even the smallest changes in an insurance company's cost structure or pricing can mean drastic changes in the company's ability to generate profit and remain solvent.