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Mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokers reached another record high in 2019 with 649 transactions, according to data from Optis Partners LLC released Tuesday.
The 2019 figure compares with 643 deals in 2018, the previous highest annual number for broker and agent M&As.
The totals include U.S. and Canadian property/casualty and employee benefits brokers, third-party administrators and related managing general agents.
The total number of transactions in the fourth quarter of 2019 slipped to 149, compared with 160 during the same period in 2018. In the second half of 2019 there were 320 transactions reported, compared with 343 in 2018.
Despite the slow down in the second half of last year, 2020 will likely be another active year for brokerage M&As, Optis said in its report.
Brokers owned by private equity firms or with significant outside support of acquisitions remained the most active acquirers in 2019, accounting for about two-thirds of all transactions and eight of the top 10 acquirers last year.
Caledonia, Michigan-based Acrisure LLC was the most active acquirer, closing 98 deals in 2019, down slightly from the 101 deals it completed in 2018, and Chicago-based Hub International Ltd. was the second most active acquirer, with 51 deals in 2019 compared with 59 in 2018.
The most active publicly owned brokerage was Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which purchased 33 firms in 2019 compared with 36 deals in 2018.
The number of broker mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter of 2019 rose by just one, to 151, over the number in first-quarter 2018, Optis Partners LLC said in a report Thursday.