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Here Come The Stats

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Ill admit it, I love statistics and Im nuts for rankings.

This has been true ever since I was a kid. Once I discovered an almanac I was in the equivalent of pre-teen heaven. My very favorite stats always have been population-related tables. And of these, rankings of the biggest cities in the world are right up there at the very top.

But lets not forget those stats that show population projections as well as past totals. I dont know about you, but I am riveted to learn that the population of Nigeria, for instance, which was 127 million in 2001, is projected to increase to 203 million in 2025 and then to a whopping 337 million in 2050.

This lifelong fascination with statistics and rankings made me feel quite at home in the insurance business when I arrived at National Underwriter some 24 years ago. For years the magazine had been publishing an annual statistical report on life and health insurers that ranked such categories as premiums, assets, in-force, etc.

Back in those days, the tables were compiled manually (this was before the age of computers) from forms that companies submitted annually. Someone in our Cincinnati office did this every year and it was a labor of love. But it wasnt quite the foolproof system you need in such an endeavor. I remember one year going over the list before publication and finding that a major company was missing. When I inquired about its absence I was told the company hadnt responded to NUs request for information (and so was left out). Needless to say, we did get the company in.

Things have changed a lot since then (thank goodness!) and computers have made gathering data relatively painless.

Since becoming editor I have brought several significant statistical features to the magazine. So, for years we have had the benefit of: Fred Townsends quarterly surplus reports as well as others from the former Townsend & Schupp; Rick Careys quarterly VARDS reports that rank the top variable annuity companies and contracts; Tillinghasts quarterly VALUE survey on variable life sales.

More recently weve featured Full Disclosure reports from Blease Research on several different life insurance products. And lets not forget the innumerable statistical reports from our friends at LIMRA International.

All of these, I believe, provide valuable information for readers in an industry that is unusually statistics-hungry.

That is why I am so excited about the most recent acquisition by Highline Media, the parent of National Underwriter. Back in May Highline purchased Thomson Financial Insurance Solutions, which has been renamed National Underwriter Insurance Data Services.

NUIDS has a staggering amount of statistical information about the insurance business, and now that it is one of our sister companies, you our readers will have the benefit of even more rankings and statistical information in the magazine than ever before.

In fact, the synergy (I hate the word, but what the hell) has started already. In the July 5/12 issue we ran our first listing of the Top 100 Companies ranked by their separate account assets.

In this issue, youll find on pages 14 and 16, respectively, the Top 25 group life insurers ranked by in-force totals for the last 3 years and the same Top 25 companies group life reinsurance ceded, as well as year-to-year percent changes.

You also can look forward to our annual Life & Health Statistical Report, which will appear in the Aug. 16 issue, with data provided by NUIDS.

For the remainder of this year we intend to sprinkle various rankings, charts and tables from the NUIDS database in many issues. And next year we plan to include a major statistical feature in the second issue of every month.

This flood of new information will give you an even more complete picture of the businessyour businessthan ever before from the magazine of record of the life insurance industry.

Steve Piontek


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, July 16, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.