Broker Mergers Hit New High in 2018

Jan 23, 2019 | eNews

Broker mergers and acquisitions in the United States and Canada hit 626 deals in 2018, a record high, according to Optis Partners LLC. The investment and financial services firm reported 611 deals in 2017, a record at the time.

“This M&A market for insurance agents-brokers continues to surprise and exceed expectations,” said Timothy J. Cunningham, Optis managing director, in a statement.

Of the 626 mergers in 2018, 330 occurred in the last six months of the year, with 148 announced in the fourth quarter.

Private equity and hybrid buyers accounted for 67% of transactions, up from 63% in 2017. Cunningham stated that the concentration of private equity and hybrid buyers has increased steadily since the firm began tracking deals in 2008, when only 21% of transactions involved private equity buyers.

As per the report, the top five buyers for the year were Acrisure LLC (101 transactions), Hub International Ltd. (59), AssuredPartners Inc. (37), Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (36), and BroadStreet Partners Inc. (34). Overall, more than half of the deals involved property/casualty brokers and agents.

While the new year is only beginning, the market is stable and healthy. With the surplus lines industry hitting record premium totals, more mergers and acquisitions may be seen as the year continues.