The Top Insurance Companies in Des Moines

Des Moines is known as one of the major insurance hubs in the United States. With over 80 insurance company headquarters located in the metro area, Des Moines offers a dense concentration of insurance expertise and talent. This article will provide an overview of some of the top insurance companies in Des Moines, what makes the city such an insurance powerhouse, and why it continues to attract insurance companies from across the globe.

What Makes Des Moines an Insurance Hub

There are several key factors that make Des Moines fertile ground for insurance companies:

  • Existing Cluster of Major Companies – With headquarters for Principal, Nationwide, Wellmark BCBS, Athene USA and many more already established in Des Moines, it creates a solid foundation and talent pool for new insurance companies.

  • Strong Insurance Talent Pipeline – Between Drake University, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, the metro area produces thousands of insurance and actuarial graduates every year. This steady stream of young talent is a major draw for insurance companies.

  • Business-Friendly Environment – Iowa offers low costs of doing business, tax incentives, and a very business-friendly legal and regulatory climate. This makes it easy and affordable to operate an insurance business out of Des Moines.

  • Low Risk of Natural Disasters – The geographic location of Des Moines helps minimize risk from earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and other natural catastrophes that can impact insurance companies’ bottom lines.

  • Central Location – Des Moines’ central location in the country makes it easy to distribute products nationwide.

Major Insurance Companies in Des Moines

Here is an overview of some of the major insurance companies headquartered in the Des Moines metro area:

Principal Financial Group

  • One of the largest global investment management firms
  • Offers insurance, retirement, asset management and other financial products
  • Over 18,000 employees worldwide
  • Fortune 500 company
  • Originated from a life insurance company formed in 1879


  • Major provider of auto, home, life and business insurance
  • Also offers financial services like retirement plans and mutual funds
  • Over 34,000 employees total
  • Ranked #100 on Fortune 500 list
  • Originally founded in 1925 as Farm Bureau Mutual

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa

  • Leading health insurance provider in Iowa and South Dakota
  • Over 2 million members insured
  • Part of larger Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Non-profit mutual insurance company
  • Formed in 1945 through the merger of Associated Hospital Services and Iowa Medical Service

Athene USA

  • Top provider of fixed index, fixed rate and registered index-linked annuities
  • Also offers funding agreements and group annuity contracts for pension risk transfers
  • Founded in 2009 and rapidly grew through acquisitions
  • Now one of the largest fixed annuity companies in the U.S.
  • Over 1,200 employees located in West Des Moines

FBL Financial Group

  • Primarily sells life insurance and annuities
  • Owns Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
  • Over $46 billion of assets under management
  • Fortune 1000 company traded publicly as FFG
  • Affiliated with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation

EMC Insurance Companies

  • Provides commercial and personal property/casualty insurance
  • Markets products under EMC Insurance brand name
  • Writes policies nationally across all 50 states
  • Also underwrites international reinsurance
  • Traces history back to 1911 as the Employers Mutual Casualty Company

Sammons Financial Group

  • Comprised of Midland National Life Insurance Company and other subsidiaries
  • Offers a diverse range of life insurance, annuity, and retirement products
  • Has over $100 billion of life insurance in force
  • Employs around 1,000 people in Des Moines
  • Founded in 1906 with the establishment of Bankers Life

American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company

  • Leading writer of fixed index annuities
  • Helps customers accumulate savings and create guaranteed retirement income
  • Has approximately 500 employees
  • Ranked as top fixed index annuity provider by multiple organizations
  • Formed by founder David J. Noble in 1995

Global Atlantic Financial Group

  • Sells life insurance and annuity products through its subsidiaries
  • Also offers reinsurance services focused on life/annuity insurance companies
  • Has around $175 billion in assets
  • Employs over 1,100 people, including 350+ in Des Moines
  • Established in 2004 through the merger of MONY Life Insurance Company and AXA Financial

This covers some of the major insurance companies based in the Des Moines area as of 2022. However, the full list of insurers located in Des Moines is even more extensive. There are also a number of large insurance brokers, agencies, and service providers that have major operations in Des Moines as well.

Why Insurance Companies are Continuing to Move to Des Moines

In addition to the insurance companies founded in Des Moines over the past century, the insurance hub continues to attract newcomers from across the country and around the world. Here are some of the factors driving ongoing expansion in the metro area:

  • Growth of the Cluster – As more insurance companies move into Des Moines, it increasingly becomes the default location to gain access to the best insurance talent and resources in the Midwest.

  • Strong Labor Market – The Des Moines metro consistently maintains unemployment rates below the national average. This steady supply of available workers makes recruitment easier for insurers.

  • Youth and diversity – Compared to other insurance hubs, Des Moines has a relatively young and diverse labor pool, which insurers view as an asset for recruiting.

  • Technology Innovation – Des Moines insurers are increasingly focused on technology innovations like usage-based insurance, telematics, data analytics and more. Technology companies are co-locating in Des Moines to tap into this demand.

  • Geographic Diversification – Foreign-based insurance companies are breaking into the competitive US market by establishing new operations in Des Moines rather than existing hubs like Hartford or NYC.

  • Strong Community – The Greater Des Moines Partnership and other community organizations actively work to promote Des Moines and provide support to aid the expansion of insurance companies in the region.

Recent Insurance Company Additions

Here are some notable insurance companies that have recently established or expanded their presence in Des Moines:

  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company – In 2016, this Columbus, Ohio based insurer opened a new Greater Des Moines office. They now have over 1,100 employees in West Des Moines.

  • USHEALTH Advisors – This subsidiary of USHEALTH Group brought over 600 new jobs to the metro area in 2017 by opening a new office in Altoona.

  • Athene USA – The fast-growing insurer continued its metro area expansion by opening a new 240,000 square foot office building in West Des Moines in 2018.

  • Mutual of Omaha – Although its headquarters remains in Nebraska, Mutual of Omaha opened a large satellite office in Des Moines in 2020 to tap into the insurance labor pool.

  • GoHealth – The health insurance marketplace startup opened a Des Moines office in 2020 and is already one of the fastest growing tech companies in the metro area.

  • The Hanover Insurance Group – The Massachusetts-based property and casualty insurer is building a new 57,000 square foot IT center in West Des Moines set to open in 2022.

With every major insurer already established in Des Moines, expansion is being driven by smaller regional and national players opening secondary offices. But the unique insurance ecosystem continues to attract newcomers and create new jobs.

Des Moines Insurance Industry Outlook

The future continues to look bright for insurance companies in Des Moines. Here are a few key advantages the metro area offers for insurance business growth:

  • Strong talent pipeline – Continued expansion of insurance education programs at local colleges ensures a steady stream of new graduates. Partnerships like that between Drake University and Principal keep training tailored to industry needs.

  • Innovation ecosystem – Support for the Global Insurance Accelerator and Global Insurance Symposium fosters an innovative culture. Incubators like BrokerTech Ventures facilitate bringing new solutions to market.

  • Diverse business mix – The region offers a balanced blend of small to mid-sized regionally focused insurers complemented by major national players across every segment.

  • Positive demographic trends – Des Moines and the surrounding suburbs are projected to see strong population growth over the next decade, expanding the workforce.

Welcome to the 2024 Fight For Air Climb – Des Moines, presented by EMC Insurance Companies!


Why is Des Moines an insurance hub?

Des Moines and the state of Iowa are known as a global insurance hub, largely due to being the home of more than 200 insurance companies and a plethora of entrepreneurs – many focused on insurtech and fintech.

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