Global insurance M&A transactions expected to fare this year close to the record set in 2017

27 March 2018 — Daniela GHETU
"2017 global insurance distribution merger and acquisition transaction counts eclipsed both the prior year and the previous five-year average," said Matt STERNAT, Vice President, Insurance Research at Conning commenting on the findings of the latest study issued by the global investment management firm.

While 2017 global mergers and acquisitions transactions for insurance distribution set new records, insurance services were down from prior year despite a strong technology focus, according to a new study by Conning.

"Despite all-time highs in private valuations, retail agent and broker acquisitions still dominate, and private equity's strong support of distribution acquisitions continues. The desire for scale and efficiency in an expanding economy, coupled with a large supply of sellers and relatively low-cost debt, continue to drive these high volumes of transactions," added STERNAT.

"For 2018, we'll probably have more of the same, maybe not at quite the same intensity" because high valuations could temper some enthusiasm, Matt STERNAT stated, quoted by Best's News Service. "As the valuations get higher, you need to make sure you're getting value."

"Global insurance services transactions cooled slightly in 2017," said Steve WEBERSEN, Head of Insurance Research at Conning. "Technology transactions led the field, followed by claims and third-party administrators, pharmacy benefits managers, and risk management. More than two-thirds of the insurance services acquisitions were led by other insurance services companies, with financial services firms, mostly private equity, the next strongest buyer segment. As the global industry increases its focus and support for InsurTech initiatives and outsourced partnerships, we expect the services sector transaction count to remain strong for some time to come."

The Conning study, "Global Insurance Distribution & Services Mergers & Acquisitions in 2017: Property-Casualty Blazing the Trail; Status Quo for Life, Health, Services" tracks and analyzes both U.S. and non-U.S. insurance industry mergers and acquisitions activity across distribution and services sectors. Specific transactions are detailed, and trends are analyzed across both sectors.

The study is available by visiting