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Mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokers in the United States and Canada reached record levels in 2018, with 626 deals announced compared with then-record 611 in 2017, according to a report released Friday by Optis Partners LLC.
The second half of 2018 saw 330 transactions, with 148 announced in the fourth quarter, the Chicago-based investment banking and financial services firm said in the report.
“This M&A market for insurance agents-brokers continues to surprise and exceed expectations,” said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing director of Optis, in a statement.
Private equity/hybrid buyers, which includes private-equity backed buyers and privately owned buyers with material internal or external acquisition financial support, was the biggest group of buyers accounting for 67% of the deals, compared with 63% of deals in 2017.
“The concentration of PE/hybrid buyers has grown steadily since we began tracking deals in 2008 when only 21% of the transactions involved private equity buyers,” Mr. Cunningham said.
The top five buyers were: Acrisure LLC with 101 transactions, Hub International Ltd. with 59, AssuredPartners Inc. with 37, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. with 36 and BroadStreet Partners Inc. with 34.
More than half the deals involved property/casualty brokers and agents, the report said.
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.