2016 A Near Record Year for Agency M&As: OPTIS

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Mergers and acquisitions of insurance agencies last year were the second-highest ever, according to OPTIS Partners’ annual report. The OPTIS database recorded 449 deals in the U.S. and Canada in 2016, a slight dip from the record of 456 in 2015.

“It was a sellers’ market last year, and it will probably remain one in 2017. But the perfect storm’ benefiting sellers won’t last forever,” said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing director of OPTIS, an investment banking and financial consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry.

The report covers reported transactions of agencies selling primarily property/casualty insurance, agencies selling both P/C and employee benefits, and employee benefits agencies.

Private-equity backed agencies were 2016’s biggest buyers, making 237 purchases, 53 percent of the total. The top two were Acrisure (63 deals) and Hub International (45).

Privately owned insurance agencies came in second, buying 124 agencies.  They were followed by public brokers (41), banks (25) and carriers/other (22).

The actual number of sales was greater than the 449 reported, as many buyers and sellers do not report transactions, and some acquirers do not report small transactions, OPTIS said.

Looking at sellers, sales of P/C-focused agencies continue to dominate the list with 54 percent of all sales. Sales of employee benefits agencies rose to become the second most popular category (20 percent of sales), up from 17 percent in 2015.

Click here for the full report.

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