Bigger is better, right?
Many of us choose to buy insurance from the largest insurers because it gives us piece of mind.
The more money our insurance company has, the better the odds they’ll be able to pay our insurance claims if anything goes wrong.
This line of thinking isn’t necessarily wrong, but it should be no surprise that insurance companies, in general, are typically financially sound.
Admitted insurers financials, those licensed to conduct business in any particular state by individual state departments of insurance, are heavily scrutinized to ensure they remain solvent.
It is very difficult to operate an insurance company in a manner that might lead to an inability to pay claims…although it has happened from time to time.
Furthermore, large insurers are not free from financial woes.
Does anyone remember AIG’s financial problems in 2008? They were one of the largest American insurance companies out there…and almost lost it all.
World’s Largest Insurance Companies
That said; AM Best (insurance company ratings) recently released their list of the world’s largest insurers in 2009 (the most recent data available), ranked by assets.
These rankings do not evaluate the insurers by the number of policies they have in-force or by customer satisfaction rankings.
Let’s look at a few of the highlights of the list.
Topping the list is a Japanese company, Japan Post Insurance Co Ltd, with $1,095,621,460,000 in assets. Yes, you are reading that correctly…Japan Post has over one trillion dollars in assets.
Believe it or not, that total is actually down 5.28 percent from the previous year. Still not too shabby.
A French company, Axa SA, snagged the second spot with slightly less than one trillion dollars in assets.
Their 2009 balance sheet revealed a 5.69 percent increase from 2008, with $962,833,608,000 in assets.
American International Group, Inc (AIG) was the largest U.S insurance company, and the third largest in the world.
Looks like the government bailout helped them stay alive with $847,585,000,000 in assets on their books.
Rounding out the top five were MetLife, Inc and Prudential Financial, Inc, the only other two insurers from the United States to make it into the top ten, with $539,314,000,000 and $480,203,000,000, in assets, respectively.
A total of five U.S. insurers made the top 25 largest insurers in the world, including Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (which includes GEICO).