Life and health insurance market in the U.S

Life and health insurance in the U.S reported premiums worth 691.3 billion USD in 2017, a 1.17% increase in comparison with 2016 and 7% in comparison with 2013. The market accounts for 743 players exclusively providing life and health schemes. It is estimated that 60% of American citizens were covered by one life insurance product in 2018.

Despite this high underwriting rate, approximately 20% of life policyholders believe they are covered enough.

hopitalThree major product groups dominate the american insurance market:

  • Capitalization products that provide for annuity payments to beneficiaries,
  • Health and invalidity guarantees,
  • Classical life products that is, death and life policies.

With 316.197 billion USD, capitalization product underwritings accounts for 45.7% of the premiums collected from the overall life and health market.

This business has been declining considerably for many years, going from 51.1% in market shares in 2005 down to 49% in 2015 and to 47.7% in 2017.

The accident and health class of business has been sharply increasing during the last recent years and supersedes life insurance. Health insurance gained 6.4 points of market shares between 2005 and 2017.

Life and death traditional insurance products, underwritten individually or through group policies, constituted in 2017 the third life most marketed life business. Like capitalization, the distribution of traditional life products is slightly down in comparison with 2005 when it accounted for 27.5% of the portfolio versus 26.7% in 2017.

A slight growth has been nonetheless noted since 2013.

U.S life and health insurance: Gross premiums per class of business

Figures in millions USD
 2013Δ2014Δ2015Δ2016Δ2017Δ
Capitalisation products
318 95349.30%325 16549.10%333 97949%326 35947.80%316 19845.70%
Accident and health
163 04925.2168 70225.50%171 95125.30%179 82226.30%190 84727.6
Life and death insurance
164 62925.50%168 41625.40%175 14325.70%177 16825.90%184 32626.70%
Other products
----3-3-4-
Total646 631100%662 283100%681 076100%683 352100%691 375100%

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

Life and health insurance market in the U.S: Technical results

Thanks to the growth of more than 9% of the financial products and other revenues, the life insurance in the United States showcased nearly the same net result reported from 2013 to 2017.

Despite growing expenses above those of premiums, the net and technical results remained more or less stable in 2013-2017.

Return on equity had lost approximately two points over the aforementioned period.

Figures in millions USD
 20132014201520162017
Gross premiums
646 631662 283681 076683 352691 375
Net premiums
562 565647 275638 191599 888596 923
Net financial products
167 085171 733170 761173 026182 242
Ceded reinsurance
21 24714 98886 44416 97525 109
Other revenues
74 26073 971125 67795 96785 559
Total revenues
782 663877 991848 185851 906839 615
Total expenses
704 270812 544775 518766 613759 112
Net result before tax
62 89749 01254 39667 06163 005
Net result after tax
42 31737 60640 28539 39642 099
Return on equity (ROE)
12.85%10.96%11.17%10.54%10.86%

(1) Including other deductions
Sources : NAIC data and Federal Insurance Office, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Annual Report on the Insurance Industry (September 2018)"

Life insurance in the U.S: Breakdown of premiums per company

Just like P&C insurance, the life insurance industry in the USA remains concentrated. The ten biggest groups reporting 47% of the 691.374 billion USD of premiums recorded in 2017. For the same year, the 100 leading insurers accounted for almost the entirety of the life premiums, or 91.1%.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife), the number one life insurance company, posted 86.6 billion USD in premiums, that is, a 12.5% share.

Figures in millions USD
 Premiums2016-2017 evolution2017 market share
 20162017
MetLife Inc.
95 110 81186 621 636-8.93%12.53%
Prudential Financial Inc.
45 902 32747 465 6933.41%6.87%
New York Life Insurance Group
30 922 46231 852 4123.01%4.61%
Jackson National Life Group
22 132 27828 142 26527.15%4.07%
AEGON NV
21 068 18024 735 09117.40%3.58%
American International Group
22 463 20222 439 071-0.11%3.25%
Principal Financial Group Inc.
28 186 09821 465 665-23.84%3.10%
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.
23 458 88321 317 714-9.13%3.08%
Lincoln National Corp.
19 441 55521 290 2999.51%3.08%
AXA SA
21 920 62720 397 394-6.95%2.95%
Top 10
330 606 423325 727 240-1.48%47.11%
Total top 25
492 133 340498 490 8231.29%72.10%
Total top 100
616 338 749629 839 3232.19%91.10%
Rest of the market (1)
67 013 79761 535 390-8.18%8.90%
Total market683 352 546691 374 7131.17%100%
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