State Farm Insurance Cos.

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State Farm boosted profits by a billion dollars last year, even as it continues to recover from the hit it took during the financial crisis, when fewer people could afford auto and homeowners policies. Still, the company has a whopping 81 million policies.And like a good neighbor, State Farm has been doing public awareness work, taking an active stance against texting while driving as part of a campaign tied to its auto insurance division. —S.D.

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American International Group

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Sure, AIG turned in the worst underwriting results among the nation’s big insurers — paying out nearly 30% more on claims and expenses than it received in premiums. Still, AIG swung to a tidy profit last year after a disastrous 2009.For that bit of financial wizardry, credit outspoken CEO Robert Benmosche, who’s defying all odds turning around the beleaguered insurance giant. The company has repaid billions to the government — including its entire obligation to the Fed — and regained access to credit and debt markets. A recent move: unloading two insurance units for $37 billion. —P.N.

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Berkshire Hathaway

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Just about every company in Warren Buffett’s fold is firing on all cylinders and cash-flush Berkshire will likely make some big acquisitions in the future. But the Oracle of Omaha faces a few uncertainties ahead.For one: It’s still unclear if there will be an investigation into David Sokol, the former Buffett heir apparent who quit in March. His resignation followed revelations that Sokol bought shares of Lubrizol shortly before Berkshire’s $9 billion bid for the company.

Also hazy: just how much exposure Berkshire’s reinsurance operations have to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Luckily, Buffett keeps $20 billion in Berkshire’s sock drawer to cover such unforeseen emergencies. —P.N.

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