Property/casualty (P/C) and life/health insurance companies contribute to our economy far beyond their core function of helping to manage risk. Insurers contributed $602.7 billion, or 3.1 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2017. On an annual basis, the insurance industry’s value added to the GDP exceeded that of banks for the first time in 2015 and has remained above banks. In 2017, the insurance industry’s value added to GDP stood at 3.1 percent compared with 2.9 percent for the banking industry. The taxes insurers pay include special levies on insurance premiums, which amounted to $20.5 billion in 2016, or 2.2 percent of all taxes collected by the states. Insurance companies invested $770.8 billion in state and local municipal bonds and loans in 2016, helping to fund the building of roads, schools and other public projects. They provide businesses with capital for research, expansions and other ventures through their holdings in stocks and bonds, a figure that totaled $4.3 trillion in 2016. The sector is also a large employer, providing some 2.6 million jobs, or 2.1 percent of U.S. employment in 2016.
The industry is also a major contributor to charitable causes. The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and McKinsey and Co. have said that the insurance industry increased charitable giving by an average of 15 percent per year since 2011 for a total of $575 million in 2015. By November 2017 the industry had contributed more than $28.7 million in local community grants, and 270,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations.
Each year in October the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) promotes a Week of Giving, during which insurance industry employees volunteer at community programs throughout the country. For information on the insurance industry's contribution to community development see Impact, the Insurance Information Institute’s online resource highlighting the insurance industry's contributions to community development. Information on corporate giving (including contributions by insurance foundations) is also available from the Foundation Center.