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Top 10: AXA Is World’s Biggest Insurer

French group AXA is the world’s biggest insurer by Net Written Premium (NWP), according to the latest rankings of the world’s largest global insurance companies by AM Best.

AXA wrote $100bn in NWP in 2011, followed by UnitedHealth Group Inc with $92bn. Japan Post Insurance Company came third at $83.4bn whilst German insurer Allianz wrote $83.1bn in Net Premiums and Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali wrote $81.6bn.

Surprisingly, four Japanese companies made the top 10, (for the first time ever) representing the biggest presence of any single country. Japan Post Insurance Company moved up to third place from fifth; National Mutual Insurance Federation remained in sixth; Nippon Life climbed to seventh from 12th and Meiji Yasuda Life jumped to eighth from 20th.

According to AM Best, the rise of  Japanese insurers is due to their strategy of aggressively pursuing growth in developing markets outside of Japan. In Europe however, there was stagnation owing in part to the Eurozone crisis and increasing solvency standards, with insurers such as Aviva and Generali experiencing a big drop in NWP.

In the US, there continued to be a fallout from the 2008 financial crisis.  AIG’s Net Written Premium dropped 13.7%, and the company fell to the 19th from the 13th-largest in the NWP ranking. Its assets declined by 18.7% dropping it to eighth from fifth largest in the asset ranking.

Ranked on assets, Japan Post came out top, followed by AXA and Allianz.

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