The insurance industry in the United States is massive, with over $1.2 trillion in premiums written annually. But out of thousands of insurers, a few giants dominate the marketplace. Based on total assets and insurance premium revenue, here are the 3 biggest insurance companies in America:
1. State Farm Group
Total Assets: $328 billion
Total Premium Revenue: $81.7 billion
State Farm is the undisputed leader in the US insurance market. The auto and home insurance specialist operates in all 50 states and writes over $80 billion in policies annually. Its network includes 18,000 agents serving over 84 million policies.
State Farm is a mutual company owned by policyholders rather than investors. This allows a focus on customer service and long-term success over short-term profits.
The insurer was founded in 1922 by retired farmer George Mecherle as a mutual auto insurance company. It expanded to offer other insurance products in the 1960s under the State Farm name.
State Farm continues to specialize in property and casualty insurance like auto, home, renters, motorcycle, and small business policies. Its big competitive advantages are an extensive agent network, strong brand recognition, and good customer loyalty.
2. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Total Assets: $849 billion
Total Premium Revenue: $76 billion
The conglomerate led by billionaire Warren Buffett is best known for its investment portfolio of blue chip stocks. But through subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway is the 2nd largest US property and casualty insurer.
Major Berkshire insurance operations include:
- GEICO – Providing auto policies since 1936, GEICO insures over 24 million vehicles. It markets directly to consumers.
- General Re – A global reinsurance company underwriting risk for other insurers. Founded in 1981.
- Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance – Provides workers compensation insurance for small-to-mid-size businesses.
- Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance – Offers commercial auto, general liability, and professional liability insurance.
- MedPro Group – Provides malpractice insurance to the healthcare industry.
Together, Berkshire’s insurers collect over $76 billion in annual premiums. The insurance business provides Berkshire its main source of cash flow for investing activities.
3. UnitedHealth Group
Total Assets: $226 billion
Total Premium Revenue: $226 billion
UnitedHealth started as a modest Minnesota nonprofit health insurer in 1974. It has grown through acquisitions and mergers to become the largest single health insurance company in America. Other major health insurers Anthem and Cigna rank just behind UnitedHealth in size.
Key health insurance company brands under the UnitedHealth Group umbrella include:
- UnitedHealthcare – Covering all sectors from individual to employer to Medicare and Medicaid plans.
- OptumHealth – Managing physician groups and outpatient care centers.
- OptumInsight – Offering data analytics and consultative services to healthcare organizations.
- OptumRx – A major pharmacy benefit manager.
UnitedHealth covers over 50 million medical plan members. It offers plans directly and through employer-sponsored coverage. UnitedHealth also serves as an administrator for other insurers.
Strong revenue and assets also make UnitedHealth the 28th largest US company overall based on Fortune 500 rankings.
What Insurers Make Up the Rest of the Top 10?
While the top 3 have clear leads, several other giants have over $100 billion in assets and premiums:
- Allstate Insurance – Auto, home, and life insurance sold through agents and directly. Founded in 1931.
- AIG – One of the largest insurers globally. Provides property/casualty, life, retirement, and mortgage insurance. Originated in 1919.
- Liberty Mutual Insurance – Offers personal, commercial, and employee benefits insurance. In business since 1912.
- Prudential Financial – Provides life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, pension management, and other financial products and services globally. Started in 1875.
The remaining top 10 insurers based on annual revenue are:
- MetLife – Well-known for life insurance, but offers many other policies from auto to dental. Founded 1868.
- USAA – Specializes in insurance and financial services for military families. Originated in 1922.
- TIAA – Leading provider of retirement and financial products for those in academia/nonprofits. Founded in 1918.
- Travelers – Sells property/casualty insurance to businesses and individuals. Launched in 1864.
What Makes an Insurance Company Successful?
Several key factors allow insurers like State Farm and UnitedHealth to grow into multi-billion-dollar giants:
The biggest insurers pinpoint specific sectors like auto, life, health, or small business insurance as an area of specialization. This allows them to understand and serve those markets better than diversified players.
Having widely distributed agents, brokers, direct sales channels, and collaboration with partners gets each insurance company’s products in front of more potential customers.
Strong Financial Performance
Profitability from underwriting activities and investment income gives these insurers the cash flow to expand services, acquire competitors, and invest in new technology to gain an edge.
Good Customer Service
In a competitive landscape, the biggest companies retain and grow the most customers over time by providing better service, communication, and claims experiences.
Large insurers use their extensive resources to be pioneers in utilizing data analytics, digital technology, new underwriting models, and other innovations to improve offerings.
Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Decades of strong marketing and customer experiences establish leading insurers like State Farm and Allstate as go-to “household names” for insurance needs across generations.
The biggest don’t always equate to the best insurance companies for consumers. But understanding what has made these few insurers rise to the top provides insight into how the insurance marketplace succeeds and evolves.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Largest Insurers in America
How did State Farm become the biggest insurance company in the US?
State Farm rose to the top through specializing in auto and home insurance, building a massive exclusive agent network since the 1920s, keeping an obsession with customer service, and maintaining a conservative mutual ownership model that prioritizes policyholders over shareholders.
What are Berkshire Hathaway’s main insurance brands?
Berkshire’s insurance subsidiaries include GEICO, General Re, Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance, Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance, and MedPro Group. These focus on auto, reinsurance, small business, and healthcare markets.
Is UnitedHealth the largest health insurer in the US?
Yes, UnitedHealth Group is the country’s largest private health insurer based on total members, premium revenue, and assets under management. Some Blue Cross Blue Shield entities have more regional market share in certain states.
How do insurers like State Farm and Allstate relate?
State Farm and Allstate are main competitors as the two biggest insurance companies focused on the auto, home, and life insurance markets. Both utilize large exclusive agent networks and direct sales. State Farm has bigger overall market share and premium volume.
What’s the best insurer based on customer satisfaction?
According to JD Power ratings, the highest ranked auto insurers are Amica Mutual, AAA clubs, and State Farm. For home insurance, top ranked companies include Amica Mutual, USAA, and Liberty Mutual. However, the best insurer varies by individual.