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AXA Tops List Of World’s Biggest Insurers – Japanese Insurers Are Climbing The Ranks But European Firms Are Staying Put, AM Best Finds

French group AXA is the world’s biggest insurer by net written premium (NWP), according to the latest figures from AM Best. AXA wrote $100bn in NWP in 2011, followed by UnitedHealth Group Inc at $92bn and Japan Post Insurance Company at $83.4bn.

German insurer Allianz wrote $83.1bn in net premiums and Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali wrote $81.6bn.

For the first time ever, four Japanese companies made the top 10, representing the biggest presence of any single country. Japan Post 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.

AM Best said the reason behind the rise was that Japanese insurers are aggressively pursuing growth in developing markets outside of Japan.

In contrast, AM Best said there was stagnation in Europe, due in part to the eurozone crisis and increasing solvency standards, with insurers such as Aviva and Generali experiencing a big drop in NWP.

Meanwhile in the US there continued to be a fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, said AM Best. AIG’s NWP dropped 13.7%, and the company fell to the19th-largest from the 13th-largest in the NWP ranking. Its assets declined by 18.7% dropping it to eighth-largest from fifth largest in the asset ranking.

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

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