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December, 2015

December closed out very quietly with no major transactions being announced. B.P.Marsh & Partners announced a further investment in Nexus Underwriting early in the month and at the end of the month Nexus Underwriting announced that they had acquired 100% of Millstream Underwriting, a London based MGA specialising in travel, personal accident and sickness covers. Integro continued to be active and announced the acquisition of Entertainment Insurance Partners, the parent company of Robertson Taylor Insurance, the entertainment and sports specialist with offices in London, Los Angeles and New York. 

Wolters Kluwer announced that they had sold their €31m UK HR consulting & tax fee protection business to Peninsular Business Services and CBL Insurance of New Zealand completed its previously announced acquisition of Professional Fee Protection, another tax fee protection business. Carlyle Group announced that they have acquired a significant equity stake in PIB Insurance, the broker founded in 2014 with Chris Giles as chairman and Brendan McManus as CEO.

Other small transactions were Bluefin’s acquisition of Lomond MacDonald in Edinburgh, Cobra’s acquisition of Philip Paul & Associates in Upminster and County Insurance’s acquisition of Heath Insurance Services in Knutsford.

On the insurer front RSA sold its entire stake in Russian insurer InTouch Insurance.

November, 2015

The month has been very quiet in respect of material transactions, but the active UK acquirer Integro, based in the US, completed its refinancing with Odyssey and also acquired specialist UK broker Ellis ClowesInter Hannover agreed to acquire Bradford based insurer Congregational and General Insurance from the charitable trust that owned it.

US owned Ryan Speciality acquired specialist MGA Hunter George, a provider of M&A insurance solutions. CBL Insurance of New Zealand, having recently listed in Wellington and Sydney, announced the acquisition of UK specialist Professional Fee Protection, with completion expected before the end of the year.

The Exeter Friendly Society formally acquired Engage Mutual Health from One Family, having earlier received regulatory approval. Davies Group has acquired the property and liability adjusting business of Argent Adjusting.

October, 2015

The floatation of Hastings went ahead with an initial share price of 170p, capitalising the Group at £1.12bn, with between 19% and 21% of the share capital being taken up by new investors. Apart from this October was a quiet month for transaction with any material scale. Willis Group has sold a 16.9% stake in Miller Insurance Services to US financial services group BB&T Inc and Higos Insurance has acquired 26 employee business AJP Partnership, a commercial lines broker in Somerset.

National Accident Helpline, the NAHL Group, has acquired Bush & Company Rehabilitation, a provider of expert witness, immediate needs assessment and case management services, for £25m, £14.6m of which was raised through a share placing. Thomas Miller has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Osprey Holdings, an underwriting managing agency in the marine and aerospace sector, subject to FCA approval. Chaucer, part of The Hanover Insurance Group Inc, has expanded its marine operations with the acquisition of Lonham Ltd, a specialist cargo and freight liability underwriting business based in Ipswich.

September, 2015

September saw general insurers going forwards and backwards with Mitsui Sumitomo announcing an agreed offer for Amlin plc valued at £3.47bn while Zurich announced the withdrawal of their offer for RSA due to their own trading results. Hastings Group has announced their intention to apply for a listing, looking to raise £180m and potentially valuing the group at £1.5bn, with the CEO likening it to the Direct Line and Admiral IPOs and attracting new investors. Earlier in the month RSA agreed the sale of its Latin American operations to Suramericana SA for £403m. Therefore, another big month for significant deals and we believe there is more to come as the general insurers get to grips with the new solvency requirements, the changing market and generally benign conditions.

The £258m Marsh/Jelf deal was confirmed, setting thoughts towards who might be next and will another new consolidator step up to the plate to fill the gap left by this move.

Private equity continues to invest in the sector with Highbridge acquiring a majority stake in Lloyd’s broker Price Forbes.

Other transactions include loss adjuster Woodgate Clark being acquired by Van Ameyde International based in the Netherlands, Axa acquiring Global Insurance Management, a provider of warranty and other motor related insurances and Brit has made a “significant strategic investment” in Ambridge Partners LLC, a $150m GWP New York based MGA.

August, 2015

August saw the quoted sector come alive again with Zurich’s revised offer forRSA Insurance Group at £5bn plus and Jelf confirming that it is in talks with Marsh about an all cash offer for the group, current market capitalisations being c.£190m.  Earlier in the month Jelf announced the acquisition of Libra Insurance Services, based in Hertfordshire. At the end of the month Innovation Group announced that it reached agreement with PE firm The Carlyle Group to be bought for approximately £500m.

Capita sold National Dental Plan for £31.7m to Unum Group based in the USA and Redde Plc, the accident management firm, acquired FMG Group, a fleet management and outsourced services group for £43.2m.

US-based broker Integro announced a refinance deal with PE house Odyssey, the acquisitions of Entertainment Risk Management, an MGA, and the aviation division of AFL Insurance Brokers.

Other transactions included Hyperion Group subsidiary Howden acquiringPerkins Slade, the Birmingham-based corporate insurance broker, Wesleyan Assurance acquired DPAS, a provider of dental plan insurance, Global Risk Partners supported the MBO of Abbey Bond Lovis, a Northern Irish based broker, and One Broker acquired PJ Weller & Son, increasing the group’s GWP to over £30m.

In the claims sector, loss adjuster Questgates acquired TSS Loss Adjusting from chartered surveyors T Sumner Smith.

July, 2015

More details of the Ace/Chubb $28.3bn deal emerged this month.  Later in July other major deals in the US health insurance sector were announced: Aetna seeking to acquire Humana for $37bn and Anthem acquiring Cigna Corp for $48.3bn.  Both deals are subject to approval but materially shrink the number of major US health insurance companies.

At the end of the month Chinese investment firm China Minsheng acquired Sirius International, the globally diverse insurance and reinsurance company, from White Mountain for $2.2bn.

In the UK, activity peaked at the end of the month with the announcement of Zurich’s interest in RSA with a possible price tag of just under £6bn. At more modest levels loss adjuster Certo was acquired by VRS VericlaimsDavies Group acquired Managed Fleet Services and a number of smaller deals were closed by JM GlendinningSeventeen GroupDual and two by Stackhouse Poland.

June, 2015

The end of the month saw two very significant transactions announced: Willis Group acquiring/merging with Towers Watson to create a $18bn broking and analytics group; and Ace acquiring Chubb for $28.3bn. Earlier in June Tokio Marine agreed to acquire HCC Insurance in the US for $7.5bn. This must surely make 2015 the most significant M&A year in terms of value for many years and we are only half way through it.

The Aston Scott MBO and management changes have all been announced now, with Bowmark backing the transaction and providing the platform for future, service-led growth with Peter Blanc at the helm supported by Heidi Carslaw and Sarah Locke.

In between all of this Willis completed its deal with Miller Insurance,Markerstudy received FCA approval for its acquisition of Chaucer’s UK motor business, allowing completion to take place and Saga completed the acquisition of Bennetts for £26.6m.  Green Insurance acquired MB Mulcahy utilising its investment deal with Minority Venture Partners.

May, 2015

May has seen relatively few transactions in the insurance sector; most notable has been the announcement that Calera Capital has acquired a majority stake in RFIB, the international Lloyd’s speciality and reinsurance broker, and Dennis Mahony will be joining as executive chairman. Elsewhere in the Lloyd’s market, US insurance and risk management group Integro has acquired Kite Warren & Wilson, a marine hull and liability broker. Aston Scott, a Top 50 insurance broker, has undergone a management buyout backed by Bowmark Capital and right at the end of the month Marsh announced that it had acquired SMEi, a provider of specialist commercial insurance to SMEs across the UK.

Randall & Quilter has agreed toacquire IC Insurance from AstraZeneca UK and ICI for £17m and AXA PPP has acquired PMI and administration services company Simplyhealth Administration from Simplyhealth Group. Finally, Healix International has agreed to acquire medical and travel assistance company Capita Global Assistance.

April, 2015

April has been a very quiet month for insurance M&A with the most significant transaction being Markerstudy’s announcement of its acquisition of the c.£200m GWP Chaucer motor book with completion expected in Q3 2015.

Other transactions were Innovation’s sale of the customer contracts of its Innovation Symbility business to Symbility Solutions of Canada and entering into a five year contract to use Symbility’s cloud-based claims estimating platform, Stackhouse Poland acquiring Cheam InsuranceCollinson Group acquiring Speciality Assist, a corporate and London market medical assistance services company, and the MBO of FMG, an outsourced incident management and recovery business led by Andrew Cope and backed by private equity house Endless LLP.

March, 2015

Hyperion and RK Harrison signed their merger agreement, subject to FCA approval, having announced talks in November 2014, creating a c.£400m turnover group with estimated EBITDA of £100m. Barbon Insurance has a new private equity backer with The Carlyle Group and announced its growth plans. Markerstudy has been active again completing its acquisition of Ultimate Insurance, the Gibraltar based insurer and its UK distribution arm Ultimate Pet Partners and Jelf continued its acquisitions with Hamilton Bond Group.

US insurance and risk management group Integro announced the acquisition of £30m GWP NPA Insurance Broking Group as the platform for becoming a leading retail broker in the UK. Cunningham Lindsey has reached agreement to acquire Californian based Andersen Environmental, a 60 employee environmental and engineering due diligence, health & safety and remediation firm.

RSA is considering the sale of its Latin American business, having instructed Goldman Sachs to handle the potential disposal. Sompo Japan Nipponkoa  acquired a 7.8% stake in Scor from Patinex for an estimated £328m.

February, 2015

Significant deals continue to be announced, this month it is Fairfax Financial in Canada reaching agreement on a recommended £1.22bn cash offer for Brit.  Other transactions included Arthur J Gallagher acquiring MGA Evolution Underwriting in the UK, Global Risk Partners acquiring a majority stake in Lloyd’s broker Ropner Insurance Services and Guernsey based Heritage Group acquiring a 33% stake in Ambant Underwriting Services, a provider of services to underwriting agents.

Clear Insurance Management made another acquisition in London, Davies Group has extended its footprint into Ireland with the acquisition of Associated Loss AdjustersJLT sold its 26.2% stake in its French associate Siaci St Honoré for £82.1m and Charles Taylor has acquired two companies from The Standard Club for £6.3m.

January, 2015

Towergate announced the agreement of a successful restructuring and recapitalisation of the group, handing control of the business to the senior secured creditors who are likely to retain the business for a period to put it on a stable footing.

The other significant domestic M&A activity included confirmation of XL’s £2.8bn offer for Catlin, which is due to complete before June 2015, and conclusion of the talks between Willis and Millers resulting in Willis taking a 85% stake in Millers subject to regulatory approval.

SAGA is acquiring the motor cycling broker Bennetts from BGL for a reported price of £26m. Hiscox is to acquire the marine operations of Randall & Quilter. Regional broker Alan & Thomas has acquired a Hampshire based business while control of Hayes Parson in Bristol has been passed on to the managers of the business.

Private equity investors have also been prominent with Lloyd’s broker Alsford Page & Gems selling 72% to an Australian private equity firm which focuses on insurance sector investments while Compre has sold a majority stake to CBPE.

Internationally, the most significant development was the agreement by Axis Capital and Partner Re on a $11bn merger to create one of the largest reinsurers in the world. Howdens acquired a 49% stake in the broking subsidiary of Malaysia headquartered CIMB banking group.