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.

Key Takeaways

  • 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 2020 are :

Non-health Insurance Companies

Company Name Market Capitalization
Berkshire Hathaway (U.S.) $455.4 billion
Ping An Insurance (China) $187.2 billion
AIA Group (Hong Kong) $111.8
Allianz (Germany) $77.1 billion
Anthem (U.S.) $70.8 billion
China Life Insurance (China) $60.3 billion
Humana (U.S.) $50.5 billion
Chubb (Switzerland) $48.8 billion
Zurich Insurance (Switzerland) $47.4 billion
Progressive (U.S.) $45.2 Billion

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

(The collective market cap data on health insurance and managed health care companies is from 2018, the last year of available data.)

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 United States.

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 :

Company  Net Premiums Written
State Farm Group $66.2 billion
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)  $46.4 billion 
Progressive Insurance Group (  PGR ) $41.7 billion 
Allstate Insurance Group (  ALL ) $39.2 billion 
Liberty Mutual  $36.2 billion 
Travelers Group ( TRV $28.8 billion 
USAA Group $24.6 billion
Nationwide Group  $18.8 billion
Farmers Insurance Group $14.3 billion 
American International Group ( AIG ) $14.2 billion 

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:

 Company  Total Direct Premium  Market Share
New York Life Grp $11.69 billion 6.75%
Northwestern Mutual $11.30 billion 6.52% 
Metropolitan Group (  MET) $10.49 billion  6.05%
Prudential of America ( PRU ) $10.06 billion 5.80%
Lincoln National $8.37 billion 4.83%
MassMutual $7.92 billion  4.57%
State Farm $4.97 billion  2.87%
Aegon (  AEG ) $4.86 billion 2.80%
John Hancock $4.73 billion 2.73%
Minnesota Mutual Grp $4.69 billion 2.70%

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 Medicaid administered by individual states.

Based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) 2018 report, the largest non-government sponsored U.S. health insurance companies measured by total direct premium collected were:

Company Total Direct Premium Market Share
UnitedHealth Group ( UNH) $156.9 billion 14.2%
Kaiser Foundation Group $93.2 billion 8.5%
Anthem Inc Group $67.2 billion 6.1% 
Humana Group $56 billion 5.1% 
CVS $55.4 billion  5.0%
HCSC Group $36.9 billion 3.4%
Centene Corp Group $36.3 billion 3.3%
Cigna Health Group  ( CI ) $29.3 billion  2.7%
WellCare $20.5 billion  1.9%
Molina Healthcare Inc Group $18.5 billion 1.7% 

(The sales data on health insurance companies is from 2018, the last year of available data.)

Largest Insurance Companies FAQs

What Do the CEOs of the Largest Health Insurance Companies Make?

The following CEOs of the 6 largest health insurance companies make in excess of $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 4,116 institutional owners, who hold more than 989 million 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.