20 Noteworthy Agency Merger Stories of 2019

February 10, 2020

1. January Nationwide Acquires Liability Insurance Program Manager E-Risk Services: Nationwide acquired a New Jersey privately held program manager specializing in management liability lines. Nationwide said E-Risk will enhance its own excess and surplus lines offerings for small and medium-sized businesses.

2. January Marsh & McLennan Agency to Acquire Bouchard Insurance: Bouchard Insurance has 260 colleagues based in its Clearwater, Fort Myers, Kissimmee, Maitland, Sarasota, and Tampa, Fla., locations.

3. February Private Equity Firm GTCR Returns to Take Majority Stake in AssuredPartners: Apax Partners agreed to sell its entire stake in AssuredPartners to an investor group led by GTCR, a Chicago-based private equity firm. GTCR previously owned AssuredPartners in 2011 until its sale to Apax in 2015. This transaction valued AssuredPartners at about $5.1 billion.

4. February AssuredPartners Adds Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services. AssuredPartners lands a top broker in California. Tolman & Wiker has 160 employees in the Central Coast region and reports $33 million in annualized revenues.

5. February Aquiline to Acquire Relation Insurance Services in California: Aquiline Capital Partners, which invests in financial services and technology, agreed to acquire Relation Insurance Services from private equity firms Parthenon Capital and Century Equity Partners.

6. March AmWINS Completes Acquisition of The Flood Insurance Agency of Florida: Global wholesaler AmWINS Group completed the acquisition of The Flood Insurance Agency, a Florida-based managing general agency that specializes in private market flood insurance as an alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program. The agency operates as a program administrator for Lexington Insurance Co.

7. March Aon Considers Bid to Buy Willis Towers Watson: Aon said it is considering a combination with rival insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson in what could be the industry’s largest ever merger. Aon said the companies have held preliminary talks and Aon is preparing to submit a bid in the coming weeks. However, within days, Aon called off the talks.

8. March Cohen & Co. Insurance Acquisition Corp. Raises $150 Million in IPO: Insurance Acquisition Corp., formed by Cohen & Co. for the purpose of acquiring insurance firms, completed an initial public offering that raised $150 million. Insurance Acquisition Corp. is a “blank-check” company. It completed its IPO on the promise that it will complete a business combination within 18 months.

9. April Marsh & McLennan Completes $5.6 Billion Acquisition of JLT: Marsh & McLennan Cos. completed its $5.6 billion acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT). The deal was first announced in September 2018. The acquisition advances Marsh & McLennan’s leadership position in insurance and reinsurance brokerage, health and retirement.

10. June Gallagher Finalizes Acquisition of JLT’s Global Aerospace Operations: Arthur J. Gallagher bought Marsh/Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group’s global aerospace operations. The addition of JLT’s global aerospace retail and wholesale insurance broking operations will expand Gallagher’s aerospace team.

11. June Hub Acquires Assets of Atlanta-Based Insurtech In-Fi: Hub International acquired the assets of In-Fi, an insurance distribution platform for financial institutions. Hub said In-Fi’s focus on streamlining customer engagement and providing customer service supports its strategy to connect with personal lines insurance customers.

12. July USI Insurance Services Finalizes Acquisition of U.S. Risk: USI Insurance Services ($1.1 billion in P/C revenues in 2018) finalized its purchase of Dallas-based specialty brokerage, U.S. Risk Insurance Group. U.S. Risk will continue to operate independently under the company’s various existing brands, U.S. Risk, Oxford, MGB, James Hampden International, Antarah and UNIS.

13. September Prudential to Pay $2.35 Billion for Insurtech Startup Assurance IQ: Prudential Financial is buying online insurance startup Assurance IQ Inc. for $2.35 billion. The agency uses machine learning to sell life, auto and other lines of insurance. The deal is in keeping with the trend of large insurers increasingly betting on startups.

14. October Gallagher Acquires Florida-Based Direct to PolicyHolder (DTPH): Arthur J. Gallagher acquired The Doyle Group Inc. and its affiliates, collectively doing business as Direct To PolicyHolder (DTPH). DTPH is an e-commerce affinity platform focused on professional liability insurance policyholders in the allied healthcare and wellness fields.

15. November EPIC Completes Acquisition of Atlanta-Based Prime Risk Partners: Two fast-growing, private Top 100 Agencies get together. Prime Risk Partners ($86 million in revenues in 2018) in Atlanta and California’s EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants ($461 million revenues in 2018) join forces.

The acquisition adds approximately 600 people in 20 locations and over $115 million in revenue for EPIC, which is backed by Oak Hill Capital Partners. Prime Risk Partners was backed by Thomas H. Lee partners.

16. December Applied Systems to Acquire Indio to Digitize Commercial Lines Sales: Leading insurance technology firm Applied Systems agreed to acquire technology startup Indio Technologies. Applied Systems will offer Indio’s digitized commercial insurance application and renewal process to its 13,000 agency and brokerage customers and their business customers.

17. December Risk Strategies Acquires New England-Based Subsidiaries of Gowrie Holdings: Privately held Risk Strategies (a Top 100 Agency with $291 million in P/C revenues in 2018) acquired two subsidiaries of Gowrie Holdings, also a Top 100 Agency with $40 million in P/C revenues in 2018. This deal capped a busy year for Risk Strategies in which it was involved in more than 20 acquisitions. It has used the acquisitions to start a new Boston-based national specialty brokerage, One 80 Intermediaries.

18. December High Street Insurance Partners Acquires Michigan’s InPro Insurance Group: A buyer to watch? High Street Insurance Partners, an insurance broker owned by the private equity firm Huron Capital, acquired InPro Insurance Group in Troy, Michigan. InPro is the seventh acquisition for High Street since its formation by Huron Capital in mid-2018.

19. December BRP Group to Acquire Lanier Upshaw of Florida. Florida-based BRP (a Top 100 Agency with $62 million in P/C revenues in 2018) gets Lanier Upshaw, a Florida agency with 60 employees and $8 million revenue.

20. December World Insurance Associates Acquires New York’s J & S Risk Planning Group: This New Jersey broker has flown under the radar. This was its 15th acquisition in 2019 and 50th since 2012.

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Insurance Journal West February 10, 2020
February 10, 2020
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Agency Mergers & Acquisitions; Markets: Nonprofits, Commercial Auto