I am pleased to report the outstanding achievements from 2018. Despite two landfall hurricanes, one of which (Hurricane Michael) stands as our second-largest catastrophe in terms of incurred claims, we managed to achieve our record seventh consecutive year with an underwriting profit.
As if seven consecutive profitable years wasn’t enough, we were further blessed with record premium growth of more than $700 million. We were fortunate to have been the carrier of choice for agents and policyholders on more than $1.2 billion in new business premium. For the first time in more than 30 years, we achieved double-digit premium growth while earning an underwriting profit in back-to-back years.
In-force policy count grew by roughly 300,000, and total policies in force now exceeds 5 million. Policyholder surplus increased to more than $11 billion, showing we have the financial capacity to support growth in premium and policy count for years to come. Auto-Owners Life Insurance Company enjoyed a banner year as well, receiving 7% more applications than the previous year.
Auto-Owners continues to be recognized by A.M. Best for our performance and financial strength. Our A++ (Superior) rating was reaffirmed, marking the 47th consecutive year we have received their highest available rating. We moved up 23 positions on the Fortune 500 list, coming in at number 375.
Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company, the excess and surplus lines carrier we acquired in 2016, also enjoyed an excellent year. Atlantic Casualty coupled record premium growth with an outstanding combined ratio. Our affiliate company, Concord General Mutual, posted great results as well in terms of profitability and premium growth. Concord writes insurance in four New England states.
I am very proud of our hard-working associates and their “refreshingly human”SM approach to provide the best service they can to agents and policyholders.