Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Reference and User Services Association Division of American Library Association Business Guides

BRASS Business Guide - INSURANCE: Researching Insurance Companies & Rating Info

Sponsored by the BRASS Education Committee.

How Can I Research Insurance Companies and How They Are Rated?

Insurance ratings are the report cards for the industry. Ratings measure an insurance company's financial strength, operating performance, and ability to meet the obligations of their policyholders.

Most rating sources are available online and in libraries. Major rating services include A.M. Best, Standard & Poors/SNL, Mergents/Moody's, and Fitch:

  • Best's Insurance Reports. Life-Health and the Best's Insurance Reports. Property-Casualty. (Oldwick, N.J.: A.M. Best Co.) - A.M. publishes regular reports on insurance companies that profiles their finances and assigns rating. These annual directories list insurance companies and assigns them letter grades for different segments of their operation. The reports also provide directory and financial information about different insurers.
  • Insurance Forum (Ratings Issue) - Published monthly, the Insurance Forum is a general newsletter for the industry. The Special Ratings issue contains comparisons of ratings assigned to U.S. and Canadian insurance companies by A. M. Best, Fitch, Moody's, and Standard & Poor's and includes a discussion of various rating systems used by these services. Separate lists Lists life-health companies that show signs of difficulty and provides a suggested list of more conservative companies for consumers.
  • Mergent Moody's Bank & Finance Manual, Volume 2 (New York: Moody's Investment Services). - Profiles of large insurance companies with financials statements and the Moody's rating information. All aspects of the insurance industry are covered, with detailed statements on a comparative basis. It provides basic financial statements, and Moody's rating information for insurance companies. Available online as the Mergent Online database (minus the ratings).
  • Standard & Poor's Insurance Rating Service (New York: McGraw-Hill). - Provides ratings for financial strength, solvency, credit, and claims paying ability of insurance organizations. S&P covers over 2,500 insurers for life, property-casualty, and health insurance lines. As with Best ratings, S&P ratings are prestigious.
  • Ratings' Guide to Life and Annuity Insurers (Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing) - Quarterly (or annual) publication that provides basic ratings and profiles aimed at helping evaluate companies that offer life insurance policies and annuities. Includes a section of recommendations and ratings of companies by state. Annual edition is also published.
  • Ratings' Property & Casualty Insurers (Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing) - Quarterly analysis on more than 2,800 U.S. insurance companies, offering auto & homeowners insurance, business insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, product liability insurance, medical malpractice and other professional liability insurance.
  • Ratings' Guide to Health Insurers (Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing) - Financial profiles of more than 6,000 health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and all of the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. Available as a quarterly or annual edition.

 Content on this site is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
 ©2000-2018 BRASS Education Committee.

BRASS acknowledges Springshare's generous support in hosting the BRASS Business Guides.