There were 142 announced insurance agency mergers and acquisitions during the first quarter of the year, according to OPTIS Partners’ M&A database. It was the fourth-highest quarterly total, trailing only Q1-2017, Q2-2017 and Q4-2017.

The data covers the U.S. and Canadian agencies selling primarily property-and-casualty insurance, agencies selling both P&C and employee benefits, and those selling only employee benefits.

There were 186 deals reported in the first quarter of 2017, including the 24 Alera Group closed on January 1.

“The reduction in deal count from Q1-2017 is not really indicative of a decline in overall M&A activity,” said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing director of OPTIS Partners, an investment banking and financial consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry. “Buyers remain very aggressive on valuations, and sellers continue to come out of the woodwork.”

Tax reform hasn’t had an obvious impact on activity.

The OPTIS Partners report breaks down buyers into four groups: private equity-backed/hybrid brokers, privately held brokers, publicly held brokers, and all others.

Acrisure led all buyers with 28 transactions, followed by Hub International Limited (13), AssuredPartners (10), Alera Group (8), Broadstreet Partners (7) and Arthur J. Gallagher (6).

PE/hybrid buyers were the lead buyer segment, completing more than 60 percent of the total transactions

Sellers by type were P&C agencies (83 announced transactions), P&C/benefits brokers (18 deals), employee benefits agencies (33 sales) and all others (8 transactions)

“We know not all transactions are publicized, so the actual number of agency sales certainly exceeded the 142 reported,” said Daniel P. Menzer, CPA, partner with OPTIS Partners. “However, because our database tracks a consistent pool of the most active acquirers, it’s a fairly accurate barometer of activity.”

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They also have a great Presentation about Insurance Agency M&A Activity. Click here to view.

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