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Ward Group Announces Its Ward’s 50 List for 2016


CINCINNATI (July 12, 2016) – The list of Ward's 50® top performing insurance companies was released by Ward Group, an Aon Hewitt company and the leading provider of operational and compensation benchmarking and best practices services for insurance companies. Aon Hewitt is the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The Ward’s 50 property-casualty group of insurance companies produced a 10.5 percent statutory return on average equity from 2011 to 2015, compared to 8.1 percent for the property-casualty industry overall. The Ward’s 50 life-health group of insurance companies produced a 19.9 percent statutory return on average equity from 2011 to 2015 compared to 9.3 percent for the life-health industry overall.   

“In selecting the Ward’s 50, we identified companies that pass financial stability requirements and measure their ability to grow while maintaining strong capital positions and underwriting results,” said Jeff Rieder, partner and head of Ward Group. “As insurance companies continue to address softening market conditions, low returns from investment portfolios and changing customer expectations, expense management will be a high priority. Fortunately, policyholder surplus positions and the overall financial stability for the industry remain very strong.”

In addition to achieving greater levels of income returns, the Ward’s 50 benchmarks also outperformed in other key performance benchmarks:

  • The Ward’s 50 life health group of companies outpaced the industry for five-year policyholder surplus growth (32.5 percent compared to 23.2 percent) and net premium income growth (21.4 percent compared to 13.5 percent).
  • The Ward’s 50 property-casualty group compared 6.2 points lower for the five-year combined ratio (94.1 percent compared to 100.3 percent) and grew policyholder surplus by 29.5 percent compared to 23.2 percent for the industry since 2011.
  • Net premiums written for the Ward’s 50 property-casualty group grew 29.5 percent compared to the industry’s 17.2 percent growth. 

The Ward’s 50 benchmark also continues to achieve lower expense ratios. “The expense ratio increased slightly in 2015 for both the property-casualty and the life-health benchmark. We still find the Ward’s 50 benchmarks comparing better than the industry average,” said Rieder.

In 2015, expenses relative to revenue were 11.9 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 property-casualty group of companies and 9.4 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 life-health group. 

For a complete list of the 2016 Ward’s 50 companies, visit To order a Ward’s 50 comparison report comparing an individual company’s results to the Ward's 50 benchmarks for select metrics, go to

About the Ward’s Top 50

To develop its annual list of the top 50 performing insurance companies, Ward Group analyzes the financial performance of nearly 3,000 property-casualty insurance companies and over 700 life-health insurance companies domiciled in the United States and identifies the top performers in each segment based on objective data and subjective quality measures. Each company has passed all safety and consistency screens and achieved superior performance over the five years analyzed. This is the 26th consecutive year Ward Group has conducted the analysis. 

Safety and Consistency Tests

Insurance companies are evaluated and must pass minimum thresholds to be considered for the Ward’s 50 designation. Each company must pass primary safety and consistency tests, including:

  • Surplus and premiums of at least $50 million for each of the five years analyzed
  • Net income in at least four of the last five years (property-casualty)
  • Adjusted net income in at least four of the last five years (life-health)
  • Compound annual growth in premiums between -10 percent and +40 percent

Performance Measurements

Companies that pass the safety and consistency tests are measured and scored on the following elements:

  • Five Year Average Return on Average Equity
  • Five Year Average Return on Average Assets
  • Five Year Average Return on Total Revenue
  • Five Year Growth in Revenue
  • Five Year Average Combined Ratio (property-casualty)
  • Five Year Growth in Surplus

About Ward Group

Ward Group, a McLagan/Aon Hewitt company, is the leading provider of benchmarking and best practices studies for insurance companies. The firm analyzes staff levels, compensation, expenses and business practices for all areas of insurance company operations and helps companies to measure results, optimize performance and improve profitability. For more information about Ward Group and the Ward Research Center, visit

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. For further information on our capabilities, access to in-depth analyses and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit:

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For further information: Media Contact: Betty Cornelius, 513-746-2404,
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