Inside Insurance: The Georgia Report

The insurance industry in Georgia has a significant impact on the state's economy that extends well beyond its responsibilities to collect premiums and settle claims.

The Insurance Information Institute, based in New York, reports that Georgia employs thousands of licensed professionals, pays significant taxes to the state, owns municipal bonds that help Georgia’s cities and towns and serves people in their times of greatest need.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the insurance industry provided 68,516 jobs in Georgia in 2010, accounting for about $5.9 billion in compensation. The number of jobs is more than the entire population of Warner Robins, Ga., at 66,588.

Meanwhile, the insurance industry contributed about $8.3 billion to the Georgia gross state product (GSP) in 2010, and that accounts for 2.1 percent of the state GSP.

Premium taxes paid by insurance companies in Georgia totaled $360.6 million in 2011.

Direct premiums written by property/casualty insurance companies in Georgia totaled $13.7 billion in 2011.

For the many thousands of businesses that rely on some level of surplus line protection to keep their doors open, surplus lines are an important segment of the market. The Georgia surplus lines market accounted for $725.4 million in 2010, according to a survey by Business Insurance.

Insurance company claims payments help ensure the economic security of individuals and businesses and help sustain a number of related industries. In 2011 these payments in Georgia, as measured by direct property/casualty incurred losses, were $8.9 billion.

Life insurance claims and benefits payouts in Georgia totaled $9.5 billion in 2011, including life insurance, death benefits, matured endowments, annuity benefits and other life insurance benefits, but excluding accident and health.

The insurance industry plays a vital role in helping individuals and businesses prepare for and recover from the potentially devastating effects of a disaster such as a catastrophic hurricane, a storm, or wildfire.

Four of the 10 most costly hurricanes to hit the United States caused insured property damage in Georgia. They include Hurricanes Katrina in 2005, Ivan in 2004, Hugo in 1989, and Frances in 2004.

While coastal living is highly prized, the insured value of properties in coastal areas of Georgia totals $101.8 billion in 2012, according to an analysis by AIR Worldwide, a statistical gathering company for the insurance industry.

David Colmans is executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service. Contact him at 770-565-3806 or by email at