The top insurance carriers by industry

Employee Benefit News, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, presents the top five large-group employee benefit insurance carriers in each of 17 U.S. industries.

The rankings are based on premiums as provided by plan sponsors in the Form 5500 Schedule A data they submit to the Department of Labor. Groups under 100 lives, government entities and church plans are not required to file and are not included in these listings. Likewise, any Schedule C disclosures are not contemplated in these numbers.

Industry: Accommodation and Food Services

1) Kaiser: $660,215,467
2) UnitedHealthcare: $531,064,924
3) Aetna: $261,032,300
4) Anthem: $171,765,096
5) Cigna: $125,971,887

Employees in the restaurant, bar and food service industries have a low opinion of their benefits, awarding them an average 2.73 out of five stars, according to research from Glassdoor. That is significantly lower than the ratings provided by employees in other industries and likely a factor in the high level of employee turnover that characterizes this sector.

Industry: Administrative Support/Waste Management and Remediation Services

1) Aetna: $984,904,095
2) Blue Shield of California: $869,923,539
3) Kaiser: $825,294,428
4) UnitedHealthcare: $519,145,210
5) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida: $351,948,545

Benefits are becoming more generous in the administrative support field, according to staffing agency Robert Half, as employers seek to attract talent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the sector will add 5.6 million new jobs by 2024.

Industry: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting

1) Unum: $72,255,716
2) Health Care Service Corporation: $64,692,850
3) Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: $62,223,957
4) UnitedHealthcare: $55,435,873
5) Kaiser: $51,272,592

“Employers within the agriculture industry are often looking for creative solutions to provide income protection to their employees in rural areas and who work highly physical, challenging jobs,” says Michelle Jackson, assistant vice president, Unum National Client Group. “Unum’s short term and long term voluntary benefit solutions, combined with its value-added services and pricing, make the company a leader in this category.”

Industry: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

1) UnitedHealthcare: $221,438,595
2) Kaiser: $203,635,712
3) Aetna: $160,079,908
4) Anthem: $157,705,696
5) Cigna: $131,113,610

Some employers in this industry offer benefits not available in other fields, such as transportation to and from work, housing and scholarships, according to CollegeGrad, LLC. Unions play an important role in the performing arts, CollegeGrad points out, and earnings, including benefits, are often determined by union contracts.

Rebecca Madsen, chief consumer officer of UnitedHealthcare, the No. 1 carrier in this category, says the carrier focuses on programs and resources to improve employee health. For example, its Health Plan Manager is “an analytics-based platform that delivers a comprehensive look at member-centric health data, enabling employers to customize for their workforce specific plan designs, wellness programs and communication strategies.”

Industry: Construction

1) Kaiser: $1,186,054,713
2) UnitedHealthcare: $721,525,144
3) Health Care Service Corporation: $503,412,730
4) Anthem: $415,672,856
5) Cigna: $364,865,214

With nearly seven in 10 construction companies (68%) employing less than five people, “keeping highly skilled employees is key to the success of these small businesses,” says David Rook in a white paper written for benefit firm JP Griffin Group. “The construction industry must therefore design attractive compensation and benefit offerings that are competitive with those offered in other industries.”

Industry: Educational Services

1) UnitedHealthcare: $489,673,066
2 Kaiser: $488,922,925
3) Anthem: $447,902,760
4) Aetna: $397,821,385
5) Cigna: $301,347,208

The education industry has one of the highest employee ratings for benefit satisfaction—3.61 out of five stars, according to Glassdoor.

Industry: Finance and insurance

1) UnitedHealthcare: $1,665,321,200
2) Kaiser: $1,424,922,839
3) Anthem: $1,351,680,000
4) Aetna: $1,140,510,918
5) Cigna: $991,508,049

UnitedHealthcare’s chief consumer officer Rebecca Madsen says the carrier’s No. 1 ranking this sector reflects its “consumer-focused strategy that is driving toward a more connected and coordinated healthcare system that delivers value to employers and our more than 50 million plan participants.”

Industry: Healthcare and Social Assistance

1) Kaiser: $1,618,310,234
2) Cigna: $219,483,302
3) Health Care Service Corporation: $218,460,453
4) UnitedHealthcare: $201,607,520
5) Anthem: $181,962,642

Workers in the healthcare field rate their benefits an average of 3.44 out of five stars, per Glassdoor. According to Towers Watson research, the costs of health benefits represent more than one-third of a hospital's total employee benefit expenditure, higher than most other industries.

Industry: Information

1) Kaiser: $1,172,054,118
2) MetLife: $646,805,777
3) UnitedHealthcare: $637,263,498
4) Cigna: $508,516,247
5) Prudential: $445,331,454

Not surprisingly, given its fierce competition for talent, the high-tech sector offers some of the highest rated benefits—3.68 out of five stars, according to Glassdoor.

Industry: Manufacturing

1) MetLife: $3,113,954,751
2) Kaiser: $2,753,989,563
3) UnitedHealthcare: $1,937,886,932
4) Health Care Service Corporation: $1,925,685,285
5) Anthem: $1,882,975,588

MetLife, the No.1 carrier in this sector, entered the employee benefits business more than 100 years ago. “Today, we provide life, dental, vision, disability and voluntary benefits to thousands of firms covering millions of individuals nationwide,” says Todd Katz, executive vice president, group benefits. “With [our] deep expertise and service excellence, we believe we are uniquely qualified to assist employers in any industry to solve their benefits challenges.”

Industry: Mining

1) Health Care Service Corporation: $214,012,014
2) UnitedHealthcare: $150,546,341
3) MetLife: $107,156,392
4) Cigna: $103,872,550
5) Aetna: $96,929,263

Including salaries and employee benefits, U.S. labor income from the mining industry exceeds $100 billion, , according to the National Mining Association.

Industry: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

1) UnitedHealthcare: $4,467,793,052
2) Aetna: $2,649,305,267
3) Cigna: $1,724,788,413
4) Kaiser: $1,263,096,206
5) Anthem: $991,611,725

UnitedHealthcare’s chief consumer officer Rebecca Madsen says the carrier supports employees through “transparency in physician selection and medical costs, easy virtual visits with healthcare professionals, and digital coaching and online wellness programs. To further enhance these efforts, UnitedHealthcare annually invests more than $3 billion in technology, data and innovation.”

Industry: Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

1) UnitedHealthcare: $425,503,362
2) Aetna: $300,984,514
3) Cigna: $287,023,509
4) Anthem: $210,320,120
5) Kaiser: $169,555,257

UnitedHealthcare, the top carrier in this field, uses patent-pending technology designed to improve member experience. Known as Advocate4Me, the customer service program’s predictive personalization technology quickly directs employees to an advocate who can answer questions about personal health, benefits plans, physician options and more, says Rebecca Madsen, chief consumer officer.

Industry: Retail Trade

1) Kaiser: $1,672,682,508
2) UnitedHealthcare: $853,900,675
3) Anthem: $722,354,831
4) Aetna: $684,392,849
5) Health Care Service Corporation: $480,107,964

The retail industry provides some of the lowest rated benefits, according to Glassdoor, with an average employee ranking of 3.11 out of five stars. This sector is less likely than others to offer benefits in the first place, notes the labor market research firm, and those employees that do receive them regard them with less enthusiasm than in other industries.

Industry: Transportation and Warehousing

1) Kaiser: $1,285,742,454
2) UnitedHealthcare: $539,575,580
3) MetLife: $405,773,099
4) Cigna: $289,057,697
5) Aetna: $282,691,002

With a higher-than-average rate of job-related injuries and illnesses, employees in the transportation field are among the most likely to look for generous health and wellness benefits, according to Winston Benefits.

Industry: Utilities

1) MetLife: $351,141,405
2) Anthem: $164,427,540
3) UnitedHealthcare: $157,318,713
4) Kaiser: $154,673,393
5) Prudential: $134,124,650

The majority of utility companies, more than 60%, employ disease management, pharmacy benefit management and utilization reviews to contain costs, according to Electric Light & Power.

Industry: Wholesale Trade

1) UnitedHealthcare: $713,572,354
2) Cigna: $500,477,449
3) Aetna: $498,392,557
4) Kaiser: $446,086,874
5) Health Care Service Corporation: $375,271,627

The leading carrier in this sector, UnitedHealthcare offers a digital wellness program called UnitedHealthcare Motion. “Since the program’s inception, participants have collectively walked more than 180 billion steps, earning nearly $30 million in rewards,” says Rebecca Madsen, the company’s chief consumer officer. She notes that 66% of eligible employees have registered their devices and more than two-thirds of those are active with the program.