SOURCE: OPTIS Partners

OPTIS Partners

March 12, 2014 06:57 ET

Insurance Agency Mergers and Acquisitions in 2013 Revert to Norm, OPTIS Partners' Report Reveals

2014 Starts Strong

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Mar 12, 2014) - Mergers and acquisitions of insurance agencies fell in 2013, with 248 reported transactions in the United States and Canada, according to OPTIS Partners' new semi-annual survey. In 2012 there were a record 299 transactions, as sellers strived to close deals before higher capital gains taxes kicked in in 2013.

"Last year marked a return to normal levels as buyers assimilated all their 2012 deals and began to refill the pipeline of potential target sellers," said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing director of OPTIS, an investment banking and financial consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry.

Private-equity backed agencies were 2013's biggest buyers, making 94 acquisitions compared to 88 in 2012.

"It was a seminal shift in the landscape, as PE-backed acquirers topped the chart for the largest number of transactions for the first time," he said. The top PE-backed buyer was Hub International, which made 25 acquisitions.

PE-backed buyers were followed privately owned insurance agencies (85), public brokers (33), banks (27), and all others, including carriers (9).

On the seller side, sales of property-and-casualty-focused agencies dominated, with 42 percent of all sales. Deals for agencies selling both P&C and employee benefits accounted for 22 percent of transactions. Employee benefits agencies accounted for 24 percent of sales, and other, 12 percent 

2014 Starts Strong

January 2014 was one of the most active months on record for closed deals, Cunningham said. "The January flurry follows the very robust fourth quarter of 2013. Such momentum seems to indicate 2014 will be a very active year."

The full report, "Agent-Broker Mergers & Acquisitions Statistics 2013 - A Year In Transition" can be read online at http://optisins.com/articles_and_thought_pieces/read.php?id=19.

OPTIS Partners (www.optisins.com) was ranked as one of the most active agent-broker M&A advisory firm in 2013 by SNL Financial.

Focused exclusively on the insurance distribution marketplace, OPTIS offers merger & acquisition representation of buyers and sellers, including due-diligence reviews; appraisals of fair market value; financial performance review, including trend analysis and internal controls; ownership transition and perpetuation planning; quality control; E&O loss control; and process improvement. Offices are in Chicago and Minneapolis.

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