SOURCE: OPTIS Partners

insurance M&A

July 26, 2017 16:50 ET

Insurance Agency Mergers and Acquisitions in Q2 Continue Strong Pace, OPTIS Partners Report Reveals

Private-equity based firms keep buying agencies and brokers

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - July 26, 2017) - Insurance agency mergers and acquisitions continued strong during the second quarter of 2017, with 135 reported transactions in the second three months of 2017, according to OPTIS Partners. There were 185 deals in the first quarter, bringing the six-month total to 320, a record.

The data covers U.S. and Canadian agencies selling primarily property-and-casualty insurance, agencies selling both P&C and employee benefits, those selling only employee benefits, and other wholesale/MGA brokerage businesses.

"As we predicted, 2017 is turning out to 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. "New private-equity capital continues to flow into the broker space, indicating investors remain bullish on the industry."

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 75 transactions in the quarter compared to 60 in the same period last year. Privately held brokers were the second largest group, completing 39 deals, up from 36 in Q2 2016. Publicly traded brokers completed 12 deals, down from 14. Bank acquisitions totaled four, down from seven. Insurance companies/others bought five agencies, the same as last year.

Sellers by type were P&C agencies (75 announced transactions) and P&C/benefits brokers (24). deals). Sales of employee benefits agencies accounted for 29 deals.

"Most economic, insurance and business indicators are generally favorable, notwithstanding the modest uncertainty with the possible repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act," said Daniel P. Menzer, CPA, partner with OPTIS Partners. "Buyers are still being very aggressive in their valuations of prospective acquisition partners, and thus far there has been no shortage of willing sellers."

The full report can be read at http://optisins.com/articles_and_thought_pieces/read.php?id=34.

OPTIS Partners has been ranked in the top 5 most active agent-broker M&A advisory firms in 2014, 2015, 2016 and through 6-months of 2017 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.

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