From the Editor's Desk
Autos and Agents
Best’s Review publishes AM Best’s top auto insurer rankings and looks at auto insurance distribution strategies as Allstate makes a deal to boost its presence with independent agents.
- Patricia Vowinkel
- October 2020
In the latest AM Best rankings, State Farm held on to its place at the top for both U.S. private passenger auto and U.S. total auto. After that, the plot thickens as Berkshire Hathaway's Geico and Progressive duel with each other for the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Allstate and USAA round out the top 5.
In the private passenger auto rankings, Geico remained in second place and Progressive in third. But in the total auto rankings Progressive overtook Geico. In both rankings, Progressive's results were fueled by sharp gains in direct premiums written.
In private passenger auto, for instance, Progressive's direct premiums written in 2019 rose 14.7%. That compares with a decline of 2.6% for State Farm, a gain of 5.5% for Berkshire Hathaway, a gain of 4.3% for Allstate and a gain of 5.3% for USAA.
Not long ago Allstate had held the No. 2 position behind State Farm. Both have long used exclusive agents as their main channel to reach insurance buyers.
Allstate, however, is seeking to reach more insurance buyers through independent agents. Earlier this year, Allstate agreed to buy National General for $4 billion in a deal Allstate CEO Tom Wilson says will make it a top 5 insurer in the independent agent channel.
“We're going to sell as much as we can, through everybody we can,” Wilson said in a second-quarter earnings conference call. “So we want to have more Allstate agents. We want to have independent agents. We want to sell more.”
October is Auto Insurance Awareness Month. In “Independent Streak,” Best's Review looks at auto insurance distribution and the renewed focus on independent agents.
Best's Rankings of the top auto writers begin on page 36.
Best's Review also takes a look at developments in the global insurance market. In life insurance, some multinationals are growing operations in the Asia-Pacific region. “Lands of Opportunity” examines recent developments and why the region is both “complex” and potentially “close to an inflection point.”
The global reinsurance industry has been influenced by both negative and positive factors. AM Best continues to maintain a stable outlook on the global reinsurance industry. In “A Complex Situation,” Scott Mangan, AM Best associate director, and Carlos Wong-Fupuy, AM Best senior director, discuss the rationale behind the outlook and other issues detailed in a recent Best's Market Segment Report on the global reinsurance industry.
Brian O'Hara, the founding president, former CEO and chairman of XL Capital, now AXA XL, was one of the forces that helped establish Bermuda as an international reinsurance hub. O'Hara shares stories about his career in his new book It's Not the Score, It's the Trip: One Man's Journey to Building a Global Franchise. To read more, go to “Insurance Exec Memoir.”
Coming up in December, Best's Review and AMBest TV will team up for a cross-media project. In this three-part series, we will examine how innovative agents and brokers are reinventing insurance commerce, product development and specialized distribution.