A Firm Foundation: How Insurance Supports the Economy

  • U.S. insurance industry net premiums written totaled $1.22 trillion in 2018, with premiums recorded by property/casualty (P/C) insurers accounting for 51 percent, and premiums by life/annuity insurers accounting for 49 percent, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
  • P/C insurance consists primarily of auto, homeowners and commercial insurance. Net premiums written for the sector totaled $618.0 billion in 2018.
  • The life/annuity insurance sector consists of annuities, accident and health, and life insurance. Net premiums written for the sector totaled $600.6 billion in 2018.
  • Although most private health insurance is written by companies that specialize in that line of business, life and P/C insurers also write coverage referred to as accident and health insurance. Total private health insurance direct premiums written were $919.6 billion in 2018, including: $715.6 billion from the health insurance sector; $197.5 billion from the life/annuity sector; and $6.5 billion from the P/C sector, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The health insurance sector also includes government programs.
  • In 2018 there were 5,965 insurance companies in the U.S. (including territories). According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, those were comprised of the following: P/C (2,507); life/annuity (841); health (931); fraternal (82); title (60); risk retention groups (239) and other companies (1,305).
  • Insurance carriers and related activities contributed $564.5 billion, or 2.8 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Total P/C cash and invested assets were $1.7 trillion in 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Life insurance and annuity cash and invested assets totaled $4.1 trillion in 2018; separate accounts assets and other investments totaled $2.5 trillion. The total of cash and invested assets for both sectors was $8.3 trillion. Most of these assets were in bonds (60 percent of P/C assets and 72 percent of life/annuity assets, excluding separate accounts).
  • P/C and life/annuity insurance companies paid $22.5 billion in premium taxes in 2018, or $69 for every person living in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • P/C insurers paid out $49.5 billion in property losses related to catastrophes in 2018, according to the Property Claim Services (PCS) division of Verisk Analytics, down from $105.7 billion in 2017, which was the highest loss since PCS began collecting insured loss data in 1949. There were 55 catastrophes in 2018, compared with 46 in 2017.
  • The U.S. insurance industry employed 2.7 million people in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Of those, 1.5 million worked for insurance companies, including life and health insurers (870,600 workers), P/C insurers (621,800 workers) and reinsurers (29,100 workers). The remaining 1.2 million people worked for insurance agencies, brokers and other insurance-related enterprises.

U.S. P/C And L/A Insurance Premiums, 2018 (1)

($ billions)

(1) P/C: net premiums written after reinsurance transactions, excludes state funds; life/annuity: premiums, annuity considerations (fees for annuity contracts) and deposit-type funds. Both sectors include accident and health insurance.

Source: NAIC data, sourced from S&P Global Market Intelligence, Insurance Information Institute.

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