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Mergers and acquisitions among insurance agents and brokers in the United States and Canada continued apace in the first half of 2019 with 328 announced transactions, which is a 12.7% increase over 2018 and only slightly fewer than the record 333 deals in the first half of 2017, according to a report by Optis Partners LLC released Monday.
Caledonia, Michigan-based Acrisure LLC was the most acquisitive buyer in the first half with 39 transactions, according to Optis, a Chicago-based M&A advisory firm. However, that marked the acquisitive broker’s lowest six-month total since 2016, the report said.
Chicago-based Hub International Ltd. reported the second highest number of deals with 26 transaction in the first half of 2019. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Patriot Growth Insurance Services LLC, which launched earlier this year, and Lake Mary, Florida-based AssuredPartners Inc. both reported 21 deals, Columbus, Ohio-based BroadStreet Partners Inc. reported 18 deals, and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. reported 16.
Twenty-seven, or 8%, of the total deals took place in Canada, which is the highest-ever count and percentage for Canadian agents and brokers, Optis said. Hub, which has roots in Canada, completed nine of the Canadian deals.
“The aggressiveness of buyers continues to push pricing and transaction counts to new highs,” said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing partner of Optis.
Mergers and acquisition value soared even as deal volume was down in the insurance sector in 2018, according to a report Thursday from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.