Despite these developments, KIE, a $465 million ETF, has $39 million in outflows during the first quarter. Similar to other SPDR industry focused ETFs, KIE is equally weighted across 49 holdings, regardless of company size. As such mid-cap life and health insurers such as Torchmark (TMK) contribute to performance in a similar manner as large-caps MET and PRU; the life and health insurers are 23% of assets, while property & casualty insurers are 41%.

KIE’s ranking is aided by the S&P Capital IQ Fair Value of its holdings, bullish technical trends and a modest 0.35% expense ratio.

In contrast, iShares US Insurance (IAK) is a market-cap weighted ETF and as such the larger insurance companies are more heavily weighted. For example, MET and PRU were 8.6% and 6.0%, respectively as of late March, while TMK was 1.3%.

From an industry perspective, both life and health insurance companies (28% of assets) and property & casualty insurers (46%) were relatively high compared to KIE. Meanwhile, IAK’s reinsurance exposure (1.5% vs 13%) was significantly lower.

Overall, insurance companies were 17% of assets in the more popular Financial Services Select Sector SPDR (XLF Overweight), making it the third largest industry, behind banks and REITs. As such investors in this more broadly diversified sector ETF, should be encouraged by the above developments.

Todd Rosenbluth is Director of ETF Research for S&P Global Market Intelligence. Follow him on Twitter: @ToddSPGlobal.