AM Best Historical Highlights

Following are snapshots from AM Best's more than 120 years of history, along with key dates in the development of our product line. Check out our chronology of events for a complete list of company milestones, or learn more about our founder, Alfred M. Best.

Original AM Best collage

1899 – The Alfred M. Best Company Inc. began in a 10-by-12-foot office on Liberty St. in New York, NY, with the goal of reporting on the financial stability of insurers and the insurance industry.

Original AM Best Insurance Reports

1900 – Introduced Best’s Insurance Reports - P/C, a compilation of credit reports on property/casualty insurers, plus the monthly supplement that became Best’s Review.

Baltimore Conflagration Historical Photo

1904Baltimore Conflagration: Best’s investigation highlighted the value of an objective opinion on insurer financial stability.

Credit Rating and Company Reporting Milestones

1905 – Developed the first insurance company credit ratings.

1906 – Introduced Best’s Insurance Reports – L/H.

1907 – Introduced Best’s Key Rating Guide – P/C and the first alphabetical credit rating scale.

1912 – Introduced the Combined Ratio: This at-a-glance snapshot of an insurer’s underwriting performance is still used today in assessing insurer financial strength.

San Francisco Earthquake and Conflagration Historical Photo

1906The San Francisco Earthquake and Conflagration: "Best’s Special Report Upon the San Francisco Losses and Settlements” was published in 1907 – a turning point for AM Best and the insurance industry.

World War 1 Historical Photo

1914-1918World War I: Alfred M. Best helped draft legislation regarding German-owned insurers with assets in the U.S. and served as an expert witness in cases such as the Black Tom Munitions Depot explosion.

AM Best Seal

1929-1932The AM Best Seal of Approval: The Alfred M. Best Company “Seal of Approval” became a sought-after mark of financial stability during the Great Depression.

A Growing Line of Insurance Publications

As the 20th century advanced, AM Best launched a number of publications. Many are still available today.

1928 – Introduced Best’s Key Rating Guide – L/H.

1929 – Introduced Best’s Recommended Insurance Attorneys.

1930 – Introduced Best’s Directory of Adjusters and Investigators, now available along with Attorneys and Expert Service Providers in Best’s Insurance Professional Resources.

1940 – Introduced Best’s Aggregates & Averages – P/C.

1943 – Introduced Best’s Weekly News Digest, now known as BestWeek.

Best's Insurance News cover from WWII time period

1941-1945World War II: Despite manpower and supply shortages, AM Best continued to innovate in assessing the impact of political and economic conditions around the world.

Alfred M Best

1958 – Alfred M. Best passed away at age 81. He was named Insurance Man of the Year by the Federation of Insurance Counsel, and in 1962 he was posthumously inducted into the Griffith Foundation’s Insurance Hall of Fame. Incoming President and Chairman Arthur Snyder Sr. accepted the award.

Morristown office location

1965 – Relocated to Park Ave., Morristown, NJ. Every week, AM Best’s corporate pilot flew content for the annual publications to be printed and bound at The Hamilton Printing Company in Albany, NY.

Continued Expansion of the Product Line

1964 – Introduced Best’s Financial Suite.

1968 – Introduced Best’s Loss Control Reports.

1975 – Introduced Best’s Underwriting Reports.

1975 – Introduced Best’s State Rate Filings.

1984 – Introduced BestLink, an online access platform.

1986 – Introduced BestESP electronic statement preparation software.

1984-1989 – Introduced Best’s Insurance Reports – L/NL, Non US and issued first credit ratings on insurance companies outside the U.S. and Canada.

Mainframe computer and employees

1968 – Introduced mainframe computer and created first electronic statement file.

Oldwick NJ relocation

1974 – Relocated to current global headquarters on Ambest Rd. in Oldwick, NJ.

AM Best website

1996 – Introduced insurance industry news coverage in real time via the AM Best website.

1994 – Held first AM Best's Annual Review & Preview Conference, a forum where insurance industry leaders address key issues and trends.

1994 – Introduced Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio.

1999 – AM Best celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

2000 – Introduced BestDay, a daily insurance newsletter.

London Office

1997 – Established A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Ltd. and A.M. Best Europe – Information Services Ltd. in London.

Hong Kong Office

1999 – Established A.M. Best Asia Pacific Ltd. in Hong Kong.

Expanded Oldwick Building

2000 – Expanded Oldwick headquarters, more than doubling the facility from 100,000 square feet to 250,000+ square feet.

9/11 AM Best News Coverage

20019/11: AM Best addressed the impact of the terrorist attacks via teleconferences with industry leaders and extensive coverage in its news publications. Company personnel worked to locate affected customers and replace lost inventory of AM Best publications.

AM Best TV Studio

2005 – Opened AM Best’s television-quality video production studio to create insurance industry webinars and other content.

Dubai Office

2012 – Established a branch of the London office in the Dubai International Finance Centre, UAE.

2008 – Alfred M. Best posthumously inducted into the Insurance Media Association’s Insurance Media Hall of Fame.

2008 – Introduced the desktop application for US property/casualty companies Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio Model – P/C, US.

2010 – Launched Best’s Library Center, an online service available exclusively to public and academic libraries.

2011 – Launched what is now known as Best’s News & Research Service, providing comprehensive access to AM Best’s news and analytical content.

2012 – Added two new rating services in addition to the existing Best’s Interactive Credit Rating Service: Best’s Rating Assessment Service and Best’s Rating Evaluation Service.

2012 – Held the first AM Best’s Insurance Market Briefing - Bermuda in Hamilton.

Mexico City Office

2014 – Established A.M. Best América Latina, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico City.

Singapore Office

2015 – Established A.M. Best Asia-Pacific (Singapore) Pte. Ltd in Singapore.

Amsterdam Office

2018 – Established A.M. Best (EU) Rating Services B.V. in Amsterdam.

2013 – Introduced Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio Model – Universal capital modeling tool for single and group insurance companies in the Life and Non-Life sectors.

2014 – Introduced Best’s Journal, a compilation of AM Best-originated reports and studies, as part of Best’s News & Research Service.

2019 – After 120 years of publication, Best’s Insurance Reports transitioned to exclusively online delivery.

2019 – Introduced Best’s Financial Reports as part of the Best’s Insurance Reports subscription (now available individually online).

2020 – Designed and implemented a global pandemic stress test on all rated companies; revised global outlooks; and published the comprehensive Best’s Special Report “Stress Testing Rated Companies for COVID-19,” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best's Review COVID edition

2020The Global Coronavirus Pandemic Best’s Review and other AM Best news and research publications provided in-depth coverage of this unprecedented catastrophe and its impact on the insurance industry.

Since 1899 Logo

2020 – Introduced a new corporate logo that recognizes the company’s history by incorporating "Since 1899".

AM Best Trilogy Books

2020 – Released The AM Best Business Trilogy, a three-book series that explores how AM Best and its founder, Alfred M. Best, influenced the creation of the credit rating industry and its ongoing evolution.

2021 – AM Best became a signatory of the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiative’s (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), endorsed by the UN Secretary-General as a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.

2021 – Announced the winners of the first AM Best’s Student Challenge, an insurance solution-based competition sponsored by the AM Best Foundation.

2022 – Released the new methodology “Best’s Performance Assessment for Delegated Underwriting Authority Enterprises,” which provides a framework for differentiating among delegated underwriting authority enterprises (DUAEs) in the insurance industry.

2022 – Discontinued Best’s Key Rating Guide as part of the transition to new avenues for delivering Best’s Credit Ratings and other insurance company information.


*AM Best TV, Best’s Insurance Reports, Best’s Key Rating Guide, Best's Review, Best's State Rate Filings, BestESP, BestLink, and BestWeek are registered trademarks of A.M. Best Company, Inc.