Insurance Agency Mergers and Acquisitions in Q1 "Explode," OPTIS Partners' Report Reveals
April, 15th 2017
Insurance agency mergers and acquisitions exploded during the first quarter of the year, with 178 reported transactions in the first three months of 2017, according to OPTIS Partners' M&A database. That far outstripped the 115 deals reported in the first quarter of 2016.
The data covers U.S. and Canadian agencies selling primarily property-and-casualty insurance, agencies selling both P&C and employee benefits, and those selling only employee benefits.
"By all measures, 2017 will likely be another banner year for M&A," said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing director of OPTIS Partners, an investment banking and financial consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry. "Buyers are still being very aggressive in their valuations of prospective acquisition partners."
The OPTIS Partners report breaks down buyers into five groups: private-equity (PE) backed brokers, privately held brokers, publicly held brokers, banks, and all others.
PE-backed buyers continued to lead the charge with 93 transactions compared to 56 in the same period last year. Top buyers were Acrisure (29 transactions) and Alera Group, a new entrant that closed 24 deals. Privately held brokers were the second largest group, completing 49 deals, up from 35 in Q1 2015. Publicly traded brokers completed 17 deals, up from 10. Bank acquisitions remained unchanged at seven. Insurance companies bought 11 agencies versus four a year ago.
Sellers by type were P&C agencies (79 announced transactions) and P&C/benefits brokers (28). deals). Sales of employee benefits agencies surged to 58 deals, versus 13 a year earlier.
"The actual number of sales was undoubtedly greater than the 178 reported during the quarter since many buyers and sellers do not announce transactions," said Daniel P. Menzer, CPA, partner with OPTIS Partners. "However, because our database tracks a consistent pool of the most active acquirers, it's a fairly accurate barometer of activity."
The full report can be read OPTIS Partners was ranked as the fifth most active agent-broker M&A advisory firm in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by SNL Financial.
Focused exclusively on the insurance-distribution marketplace, Chicago-based OPTIS Partners (www.optisins.com) offers merger & acquisition representation for buyers and sellers, including due-diligence reviews. It provides appraisals of fair market value; financial performance review, including trend analysis and internal controls; and ownership transition and perpetuation planning.