Quoting from Optis, A.M. Best said the COVID-19 pandemic did not slow down merger and acquisition activity in the agent and brokerage sector.
“There were 774 total deals in 2020, nearly 20% more than in 2019,” A.M. Best said in the report.
Noteworthy deals in 2020 included Brown & Brown Inc.’s first acquisition in Canada. Brown & Brown last year closed its acquisition of Langley, B.C., managing general agent Special Risk Insurance Managers (SRIM) Ltd. SRIM was formed in 2013 through the merger of Sports-Can and Special Risk Insurance Brokers Ltd.
At the time, Brown & Brown said its deal to acquire SRIM was “a strategic step forward” in establishing a presence in the Canadian insurance brokerage market.
SRIM has offices in Vancouver, Vulcan, Alta., Winnipeg, Markham, Ont. and Bedford, N.S.
Brown & Brown was the sixth-largest brokerage worldwide in 2020, A.M. Best reports. Brown & Brown had $2.61 billion in revenue last year. All figures are in United States dollars.
Leading the pack is New York City-based Marsh & McLennan Companies, with $17.2 billion last year. Aon plc placed second (2020 revenue of $11.07 billion), Willis Towers Watson plc third ($9.35 billion), and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. fourth ($6 billion).
Despite their friendly merger agreement announced in 2020, Aon and Willis are counted separately because the deal has yet to close. Separately, the United States Department of Justice announced June 16 it is asking a court to block an Aon acquisition of Willis. The court has yet to issue a ruling.
In addition to its US$30-billion bid to buy Willis, Aon in 2020 acquired incident response and forensic investigation vendor Cytelligence, A.M. Best noted.
Chicago-based Hub International was the fifth-largest brokerage in 2020 with revenues of $2.7 billion. Formed in 1998 through the merger of several Canadian brokers, Hub acquired 65 brokerages in 2020. Noteworthy deals in 2020 included Hub’s acquisition of Canadian benefits consulting practice of Morneau Shepell Inc., said A.M. Best.
Meanwhile, Gallagher completed 27 mergers in 2020.
In addition to acquiring SRIM, Brown & Brown made 24 other deals in 2020, including the acquisition of insurtech CoverHound, A.M. Best noted.
Truist, Lockton, Acrisure, and USI placed seventh through 10th, respectively, when ranked by 2020 revenues.
New York City-based NFP (whose recent Canadian acquisitions include commercial P&C brokerage Dalton Timmis) dropped from 12th place in 2019 to 13th place in 2020.