Insurance at a Glance

  • The U.S. insurance industry’s net premiums written totaled $1.1 trillion in 2011, with premiums recorded by life/health (L/H) insurers accounting for 58 percent and premiums by property/casualty (P/C) insurers accounting for 42 percent, according to SNL Financial LC.
  • P/C insurance consists primarily of auto, home and commercial insurance. Net premiums written for the sector totaled $442 billion in 2011.
  • The L/H insurance sector consists primarily of annuities and life insurance. Net premiums written for the sector totaled $620 billion in 2011.
  • Health insurance is generally considered a separate sector. The sector includes private health insurance companies as well as government programs. P/C and L/H insurers also write some health insurance.
  • There were 2,686 P/C insurance companies and 1,013 L/H insurance companies in the United States in 2011.
  • Insurance carriers and related activities accounted for $404.6 billion, or 2.8 percent, of U.S. gross domestic product in 2010.
  • The U.S. insurance industry employed 2.3 million people in 2011. Of those, 1.4 million worked for insurance companies, including life, health and medical insurers (772,500 workers), property/casualty insurers (599,300 workers) and reinsurers (26,310 workers). The remaining 883,700 people worked for insurance agencies, brokers and other insurance-related enterprises.
  • Total financial assets of the P/C insurance industry were $1.4 trillion in 2011, according to the Federal Reserve. L/H financial assets totaled $5.3 trillion in 2011.
  • Reinsurance helps primary insurers protect against unforeseen or extraordinary losses. Reinsurance premiums written in the U.S. totaled $26.4 billion in 2011, according to the Reinsurance Association of America.
  • Catastrophe bonds are one of a number of new risk transfer products that have emerged as an alternative to traditional insurance reinsurance products. Catastrophe bonds representing $3.9 billion of risk capital were issued in 2011, according to GC Securities.