The U.S. insurance industry, which is made up of property/casualty and life/health companies and agents, brokers and service personnel for all sectors, employed 2.3 million people in 2004.
There were 3,330 property/casualty insurance companies in the United States in 2002. Many of these companies were part of larger entities.
Insurance premiums (property/casualty and life/health) worldwide totaled $2.9 trillion in 2003. In the U.S. alone, insurance premiums totaled $1,055.5 billion in 2003, up 4.9 percent from $1,006.0 billion in 2002. Premiums in the property/casualty sector totaled $574.6 billion (including state funds), while life/health premiums totaled $480.9 billion.
The transaction value of insurance-related mergers and acquisitions totaled $58.5 billion in 2003, up from $9.7 billion in 2002. The property/casualty insurance industry's rate of return on a statutory basis was 10.2 percent in 2003, up from 3.3 percent in 2002.
The property/casualty insurance industry had a $30.4 billion after-tax net gain in 2003, up from $9.7 billion dollars in 2002. U.S. catastrophe losses rose from $12.9 billion in 2003 to $27.3 billion in 2004. The total for insured property losses from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has been revised and now stands at $18.8 billion. A property/casualty insurer must maintain a certain level of capital and surplus to underwrite risks. This capital is known as "capacity."
When the industry is hit by high losses, such as after the World Trade Center terrorist attack, capacity is diminished. It can be restored by increases in net income, favorable investment returns, reinsuring more risk, and/or raising additional capital.
When there is excess capacity, usually because of a high return on investments, premiums tend to decline as insurers compete for market share. As premiums decline, underwriting losses are likely to grow, reducing capacity and causing insurers to raise rates and tighten conditions and limits.
Over the last 10 years, employment in the insurance industry (all sectors) has averaged 2.1 percent of the total U.S. employment.
In 2004, net income after taxes, at $38.7 billion, was at the highest level since 1998, at $30.8 billion.