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Insurance agency and broker merger and acquisition activity set a record for any third quarter with 174 transactions in the third quarter of this year, according to an Optis Partners LLC report issued Thursday.
The Chicago-based M&A and advisory consulting firm also noted there were 463 transactions during the first nine months of this year, only slightly behind the 468 recorded last year. There have been 606 transactions in the past 12 months, second only to the 611 posted for full-year 2017, Optis reported.
Private equity-backed/hybrid buyers dominated the market, accounting for two-thirds of the transactions in the first nine months of 2018.
“Agency valuations seem to continue rising in spite of recent interest rate increases,” according to the report, which had that there is “no obvious end in sight for the continued aggressive M&A activity and valuations.”
The top three acquirers in the first three quarters of this year were: Acrisure LLC with 70 deals, Hub International Ltd. with 47 and AssuredPartners Inc. with 30. They are the 13th-, eighth- and 12th-largest brokers of U.S. business, respectively, according to Business Insurance’s latest ranking.
Announced and reported mergers and acquisitions for U.S. and Canadian insurance agents and brokers were up more than 30% during 2017 compared with 2016, finishing the year at 604 vs. 461.