Regulation of Insurance

January 17, 1945

Report Outline
Insurance and the National Economy
State Regulation of Insurance Companies
Federal Jurisdiction Over Insurance
Insurance Legislation in Congress
Special Focus

Insurance and the National Economy

Insurance represents today a leading sphere of American financial activity, affecting intimately the lives and business affairs of almost every citizen of the country. About 70 million persons in the United States hold life insurance policies of some description. High proportions of the nation's lives and property, goods in storage, in transit, on shelves or in production, are covered by insurance against destruction, loss or damage. Automobiles, aircraft and ships are commonly protected by insurance policies—frequently under the compulsion of law. Nearly 4,500 separate corporations exist for the purpose of writing insurance in the United States; in normal times they employ about a million agents in 150,000 local agencies.

Life insurance companies, numbering 366, at the close of 1944 had total assets of more than $37 billion, annual premimum receipts of over $6 billion, and total insurance in force of $148.4 billion. Fire insurance companies, numbering about 4,000, had $90 billion of insurance in force and received net premium payments of about $1.3 billion in 1943. Insurance companies, forbidden generally under state law to invest in speculative stocks, are heavy purchasers of railroad and other utility bonds; federal, state and municipal obligations: they constitute by far the largest single group of ownership in such securities.

Interstate Operations of Insurance Companies

The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York, with assets of $6.5 billion and total insurance coverage of $29.2 billion, ranks first among American insurance companies. It conducts operations in 48 states and the District of Columbia, insuring one in every five persons in the nation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Life Insurance
Jan. 17, 1945  Regulation of Insurance
Oct. 29, 1935  Life Insurance for Workers
May 19, 1933  Life Insurance in the Depression
Insurance Industry
Regulation and Deregulation
Regulation and Deregulation