Ward News

Insurance Labor Study Indicates Challenging Recruitment Environment  

According to the latest iteration of the Mid-Year U.S. Insurance Labor Outlook Study conducted by The Jacobson Group and Ward Group, a part of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), 62 percent of companies polled intend to increase staff during the next 12 months. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting the insurance industry’s employment rate at 2 percent, which continues the trend of virtually non-existent unemployment.

“We stand amid an increasingly volatile labor market,” said Gregory P. Jacobson, co-chief executive officer of Jacobson. “Growing staffing demands, low unemployment and a tightening labor pool have created the most challenging talent recruitment market in recent history.”

Some additional key findings include the following:

  • Eighty-one percent of organizations expect an increase in revenue during the next 12 months. This is the first time since July 2012 that expectations increased from the January to July survey period.
  • Technology, analytics and claims roles are expected to grow the greatest during the next 12 months.
  • Analytics, executive and actuarial positions are considered the most difficult to fill.

For more highlights, download the full insurance labor market study results summary. For commentary, view the recorded webcast.

The study’s next iteration will occur in January 2018. To participate, visit http://jcbsn.gr/2vI7rl0 or contact Vince Albers of Ward Group at vincent.albers@wardinc.com.


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Ward Group Reveals Its Ward’s 50 List of Top Performing Insurance Companies for 2017  

The list of Ward's 50® top performing insurance companies was released by Ward Group, a part of Aon plc (NYSE:AON) and the leading provider of operational and compensation benchmarking and best practices services for insurance companies.

The Ward’s 50 property-casualty group of insurance companies produced an 11.4 percent statutory return on average equity from 2012 to 2016, compared to 8.4 percent for the property-casualty industry overall. The Ward’s 50 life-health group of insurance companies produced a 17.5 percent statutory return on average equity from 2012 to 2016, compared to 9.6 percent for the life-health industry overall.   

“Low investment returns, rising loss costs, and competitive market conditions continue to impact financial returns for the industry. 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.

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 (19.8 percent compared to 16.0 percent) and net premium income growth (10.8 percent compared to 0.9 percent).
  • The Ward’s 50 property-casualty group compared 6.4 points lower for the five-year combined ratio (92.6 percent compared to 99.0 percent) and grew policyholder surplus by 30.9 percent compared to 20.6 percent for the industry since 2012.
  • Net premiums written for the Ward’s 50 property-casualty group grew 30.1 percent compared to the industry’s 16.6 percent growth. 

The Ward’s 50 benchmark group also continues to achieve lower expense ratios. “The expense ratio decreased slightly in 2016 for the property-casualty but increased for the life-health benchmark. We still find the Ward’s 50 benchmarks comparing better than the industry average,” said Rieder.

In 2016, expenses relative to revenue were 9.3 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 property-casualty group of companies and 10.0 percent lower for the Ward’s 50 life-health group. 

For a complete list of the 2017 Ward’s 50 companies, visit www.wardinc.com. 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 www.wardinc.com.

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 more than 700 life-health insurance companies domiciled in the United States, identifying 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 27th 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 Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

Follow Aon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aon_plc
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About Ward Group

Ward Group is the leading provider of benchmarking and best practices studies for the insurance industry. The firm analyzes staff levels, compensation, business practices, and expenses for all areas of company operations and helps insurers to measure results compared to peer groups, optimize performance, and improve profitability. Ward Group is part of Aon plc (NYSE: AON). For more information, please visit wardinc.com.

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