Between 2000 and 2007, the 10 largest publicly traded insurance companies increased their profits 428%, from 2.4 billion to $12.9 billion, according to the securities and exchange commission. During the same period, the number of insurers fell by 20%, largely because of a huge wave of mergers that led to stunning consolidation. And premiums increased by more than 87%, rising four times faster than the average American’s wages. Today, 95% of American insurance markets qualify as tight oligopolies.
Source: Boyle, David A., Letter to the Editor, the New York Times June 19, 2009, P. A20. From a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress