Disability benefits and benefits paid under accident and health contracts increased 11% for the top 50 companies, according to 2005 annual statement filings.

Total benefits in this category grew to $63.6 billion in 2005 compared with $57.5 billion in 2004. The data is culled from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ annual statement database via Highline Data, LLC. The information appears on page 6, line 13 of the annual statement filings.

The line item, NAIC says, represents a good portion of a reporting entity’s incurred claims. However, NAIC adds, another figure must be added to what is on Line 13 to obtain a reporting entity’s total incurred claims. That figure, NAIC says, is the change in the reporting entity’s aggregate reserve for accident and health contracts.

So, the net increase in total reserves in 2005 over 2004 (page 14, line 7) would be added to benefits paid, according to NAIC.

NAIC also notes that some companies have higher incurred claims than benefits paid. The differences can usually be attributed to the type of A&H coverage, NAIC says.

Under a traditional major medical policy, most of the amount will come from the benefits paid line on page 6, line 13. For other types of coverage, such as long term care or disability, the reserves carried by the insurer are calculated and reported in a different manner than those under a major medical policy and a higher percentage of the incurred claims may be attributed to the change in aggregate reserves, NAIC adds.

The top 10 companies comprised the bulk of the top 50 totals, representing 63% and 62% of benefits paid in 2005 and 2004, respectively. For the top 10, benefits paid increased 13% to $40 billion in 2005 from $35.5 billion in 2004.

Among the top 10, double-digit increases were posted by Aetna Life with a 34% increase to $4 billion in 2005 over $3 billion in 2004; by BC Life & Health with a 32% rise to $1.6 billion from $1.2 billion; and by United Healthcare with a 23% increase to $14.7 billion from $12 billion in 2004.

Connecticut General Life, ranked number 4 of the top 50, experienced a 14% decline in 2005 to $3.5 billion compared with $4.1 billion in 2004.

Other companies in the top 50 with large increases include HCC Life, Pacificare Life & Health, and Hartford Life Group, which posted respective increases of 106%, 76%, and 68% in 2005 compared with 2004.

Other companies among the top 50 that had large increases in 2005 include General Re Life Corp., up 31%, and American Medical Security Life, up 28%. A 23% decline was posted by John Alden Life.

The 2005 Fact Book of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, cites U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics that indicate 39% of all workers in private industry were covered by short-term disability income insurance in 2003 and 30% were covered by long-term disability income insurance.