Mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokers accelerated during the fourth quarter of 2020, limiting a record year, according to data from Optis Partners LLC.
There were 290 fourth-quarter transactions involving U.S. and Canadian brokers, third-party administrators and associates of general agents, the Chicago-based investment banking and consulting firm said in a report Tuesday. Compared to 173 during the same period in 2019.
For the full year, there were 774 transactions, a record high and a 20% increase compared to 2019.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Acrisure LLC again reported the most transactions, closing 108 in 2020 , compared to 98 in 2019, says Optis. Chicago-based Hub International Ltd. was the second most active buyer and completed 64 transactions, compared to 52 in 201
Of the companies sold in 2020, 397 were real estate agents, 159 specialized in employee benefits, 128 managed properties / benefits and employee benefits, and 90 were categorized as others.
The largest broker sold in 2020 was Assurance Holdings Inc., which Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, a unit of Marsh LLC, acquired in April. Assurance was previously ranked 35th in Business Insurance 's ranking of the largest brokers for American business.
Market sources indicate that 2021 will probably also be an active year for brokers M & As, says the Optis report.  A full analysis of the Optis report will appear in the February issue of Business Insurance.