Eight Insurers Exposed to 73% of Homeowners Risk
in Western Fire-Prone States

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla., August 14, 2002 - In seven Western fire-prone states1, only eight large property and casualty insurers are exposed to 72.9 percent of the home insurance risk, according to a recent analysis by Weiss Ratings, Inc., the nation's leading independent provider of ratings and analyses of financial services companies, mutual funds, and stocks.

At year-end 2001, eight carriers commanded 83.3 percent of the market in Alaska, 76.2 percent in Colorado, 72.9 percent in Oregon, 72.8 percent in California, 70.2 percent in Arizona, 69.4 percent in New Mexico, and 68.5 percent in Utah. Those eight companies are:

Company Premium in
States ($000)
Market Share
States (%)
Market Share
State Farm Group 1,435,340 23.0 21.8
Zurich Financial Services Group 1,263,011 19.8 8.6
Allstate Insurance Group 847,793 13.6 11.4
USAA Group 280,599 4.5 3.6
Safeco Insurance Group 223,863 3.6 2.0
California Auto Group 208,230 3.3 .4
American Family Insurance 159,091 2.6 2.2
Nationwide Corp. 153,572 2.5 4.6
Top Eight Cos. 4,544,499 72.9 54.6
All Cos. in Hurricane-Prone States 6,238,041

Three companies - State Farm, Zurich Financial Services, and Allstate - controlled 56.4 percent of the total market share in the Western fire-prone states last year. Their combined homeowners exposure ranged from a low of 53.3 percent in Colorado to a high of 67.8 percent in Alaska.

"The concentration of the homeowners insurance market continues to accelerate," commented Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss Ratings, Inc. "Not only are consumers' choices more limited than ever before, but insurers face staggering risk in the event of just one catastrophic event."

At year-end 2001, the top eight homeowners insurers in the nation controlled a record 58.4 percent of the national market, compared to only 26 percent in 1965. State Farm and Allstate, the two largest homeowners insurers in the nation, have increased their market penetration even more dramatically, up from just six percent of the national market in 1965 to 33.2 percent in 2001.

Weiss issues safety ratings on more than 15,000 financial institutions, including property and casualty insurers, HMOs, life and health insurers, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, banks, and brokers. Weiss also rates the risk-adjusted performance of more than 11,000 mutual funds and more than 9,000 stocks. Weiss Ratings is the only major rating agency that receives no compensation from the companies it rates. Revenues are derived strictly from sales of its products to consumers, businesses, and libraries.

Consumers needing more information on the financial safety of a specific company can purchase a rating and summary analysis for as little as $7.95 through the Weiss Ratings website at www.WeissRatings.com, or starting at $15 by calling 800-289-9222.

1 Western states ranked by acres burned from January 1, 2002 to August 5, 2002 according to the National Interagency Fire Center: Alaska (1,238,739); Arizona (628,738); Oregon (583,334); Colorado (387,950); New Mexico (298,076); California (259,444); and Utah (232,453).

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