How Do Insurance Companies Make Money? Find Out

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You may wonder how do insurance companies make money. Insurance firms profit from risk – the risk that you won’t die before your time and force the insurer to pay out, or that your house won’t burn down or your SUV won’t be damaged in a car accident.

Besides that, there are other ways through which insurance companies make money

Insurance companies assess the risk and charge premiums for various types of insurance coverage. If an insured event occurs and you suffer damages, the insurance company pays you up to the agreed amount of the insurance policy. The way insurance companies work, they can pay this and still make a profit.

What Is Insurance?

Insurance is a contract in which an individual or entity receives financial protection or reimbursement from an insurance company as a policy. The firm pooled the risks of its clients to make payments more affordable to the insured.

Insurance policies are used to protect against the risk of large and small financial losses resulting from damage to the insured’s property or liability for damage or injury to a third party.

One unique concept that drives insurance companies is the systemic arrangement with individuals and organizations where the insurance company promises to pay a specific amount of money for a special asset loss by the insured.

In exchange, the insurance company receives regular (usually monthly) payments from its customer for a policy that covers life, home, auto, travel, business, and valuables.

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How Does Insurance Companies Work?

There are many different types of insurance policies to choose from, and almost anyone or any business can find an insurance company willing to insure them—for a fee. Auto, health, homeowners, and life insurance are the most common personal insurance policies. Car insurance is required by law in the United States, and most people have at least one of these types of insurance.

When you buy a policy, you are required to make a payment known as a premium to the insurer. If you make a claim due to accident, illness, and damages, your insurer will take care of the loss covered under the policy. On the other hand, if you fail to make a claim, you won’t get anything back.

Businesses require specific types of insurance policies that protect them against specific risks. A fast-food restaurant, for example, requires coverage for damage or injury resulting from deep-frying operations. Although an auto dealer is not exposed to this risk, he or she must have coverage for any damage or injury that may occur during test drives.

Kidnap and ransom (K&R), medical malpractice, and professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, are examples of insurance policies available for very specific needs.

Before we go on to illustrate how insurance companies make their money, let’s take a sneak peek at the benefits of insurance companies.

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What Are The Benefits Of Insurance Companies?

Insurance benefits individuals, organizations, and society more than the average person realizes. Some of the benefits of insurance are obvious while others are not.

Here are a few benefits of insurance to individuals and companies:

1. Provides safety and security to individuals and businesses

Insurance provides financial assistance and mitigates the risks individuals and businesses face. It’s an excellent risk-mitigation tool against events that could cause financial hardship for individuals and businesses.)

For example, with medical inflation at around 15% per year, even simple medical procedures can cause a family’s carefully calculated budget to be disrupted, but a Health Insurance policy would provide financial security.

In the case of business insurance, financial compensation is provided in the event of financial loss due to fire, theft, maritime mishaps, other accidents, and so on.

2. Generates long-term financial resources

Premiums from millions of policyholders are used to fund the insurance industry. Because these funds are long-term, they are invested in long-term infrastructure assets (such as roads, ports, power plants, dams, and so on) that are critical to nation-building. Large investments that result in capital formation in the economy increase employment opportunities.

3. Promotes economic growth

Because it mobilizes domestic savings, the insurance industry significantly impacts the economy. Insurance converts a person’s savings into a profit-generating investment. 

Insurance also allows for loss mitigation, financial stability, and the promotion of trade, leading to long-term economic growth and development. 

As a result, insurance is essential for a country’s long-term economic growth.

4. Provides support to families during medical emergencies

Family wellbeing is important to everyone, and the health of family members is the primary concern for the majority. Medication and hospitalization play an important role in ensuring the well-being of families, from elderly parents to newborn children. If you are not well prepared, rising medical treatment costs and soaring medicine prices can quickly deplete your savings. 

Critical illnesses (such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, and others) can strike anyone at any time. In addition, rising medical costs are a major source of concern. Medical insurance is a type of insurance that protects people financially from a variety of health risks. A Health Insurance policy provides financial assistance in the event of a medical emergency.

5. Spreads risk

Insurance allows the insured to transfer the risk of loss to the insurer. The basic premise of insurance is to spread risk across a large group of people. A large number of people purchase insurance policies and pay premiums to the insurance company. Whenever a loss occurs, the funds collected from millions of policyholders are used to compensate for the loss.

6. It supports the insured’s credit

Another uncommon, important benefit of insurance is support for the insured’s credit.  Insurance facilitates loans to individuals and organizations by guaranteeing that the lender will be paid if the collateral for the loan is destroyed or damaged by an insured event.  This reduces the lender’s uncertainty of default by the party borrowing funds.

How Do Insurance Companies Make Money?

Insurance companies operate a business model that collects more money than it pays out to customers while incurring other expenses.

In order to do so, insurance companies rely on two pillars: underwriting and investment income.

1. Underwriting

For most insurance companies, underwriting revenues come from the cash collected on insurance policy premiums, minus money paid out on claims. Underwriting is how an individual or institution takes on financial risk for a fee.

For instance, if Company A insurance company earned $6 million from the premiums paid by customers for their policy in a year and paid $5 million in claims that same year, on the aspect o underwriting, Company A earned a profit o $1 million that year.

The process of underwriting is very thorough insurance underwriters are very calculative enough to ensure that the financial math benefits them.

With the underwriting model, insurance companies only have to pay if it makes a legitimate claim.

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2. Investment income

Insurance companies also make money via investment income. When an insured pays a premium, the insurer takes the money and invests in the financial market to increase their revenues.

This great money-making proposition enables insurance companies to put their money to work by earning investment income.

3. Interest earning and revenue

Insurance companies also make some good cash out of interest earnings and revenue. Assuming an insurance company receives $1 million in premiums for its policies, it can find short-term assets to invest its funds. Treasury bonds, high-grade corporate bonds, and interest-bearing cash equivalents are examples of this type of instrument.

4. Reinsurance

Insurance companies engage in reinsurance to reduce risk. Reinsurance is the practice insurers transfer portions of their risk portfolios to some other parties through agreement to reduce the possibility o paying huge obligations resulting from an insurance claim.

For example, an insurance company may underwrite too much hurricane insurance based on models that predict a low probability of a hurricane striking a specific location. The insurance company could face significant losses if the unthinkable happened and a hurricane hit that area. Insurance companies could go out of business if they don’t have reinsurance to take some risks off the table when a natural disaster strikes.

It’s akin to arbitrage for many insurance companies. They charge a higher rate to individual customers for insurance, then get lower rates when they re-insure these policies in bulk.

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5. Cash value cancellations

Consumers with whole life insurance plans who discover they have thousands of dollars in “cash values” (from investments and dividends from insurance company investments) want the money, even if it means closing the account.

Insurance companies are more than happy to comply, knowing that once a customer takes cash value money and closes the account, the insurer’s liability ends. The insurance company keeps all the previously paid premiums, pays the customer with interest earned on their investments, and keeps the rest of the money.

Cash value payouts are, in this sense, a financial boon for insurance companies.

6. Coverage lapses

Oftentimes, consumers fail to stay abreast of their current insurance policies, which triggers a profitable scenario for the company.

A policy lapse occurs when an insurance policy expires without any claims being paid out, as defined by the policy contract. Insurance companies profit from this situation because the insurer keeps all previous premiums paid by the customer, with no chance of a claim being paid.


With Industry data showing that for every 100 insurance customers paying their premiums yearly, only three consumers make a claim, insurance companies are cashing in big. Meanwhile, insurance companies take all those premium payments and invest the cash, increasing their profits.

With the arena tilted significantly in their favor, insurance companies have a clear path to profits and take that path to the bank daily.


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Chukwudumebi Amadi
Chukwudumebi Amadi

What’s up, I’m Dums. I help brands gain visibility through SEO Writing and other applicable Content Marketing Strategies.

My educational background includes a BSc in Mass Communication with a focus on writing for the New Media.

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