Conning Research: 2010 U.S. Insurance Mergers & Acquisitions Up Significantly, Reversing Five-Year Decline

--Transactions increase by 36%

--Deal value increased by 224%

Mar 14, 2011, 09:00 ET from Conning Research & Consulting

HARTFORD, Conn., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Insurance mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. picked up momentum in 2010. Sharp increases were seen for insurance service providers and distribution targets, a potential leading indicator of market shift. A prominent theme underlying insurance company transactions was selectively targeted bolt-on acquisitions of specialized units, according to a new study by Conning Research & Consulting.

"Mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. insurance market increased significantly in 2010, with a 35 percent increase in transactions and a 224 percent increase in deal values. This represents a reversal of a five-year decline in merger activity in the market," said Jerry Theodorou, analyst at Conning Research & Consulting. "The increased activity was the result of buyers responding to soft market insurance conditions as well as generally improving conditions for M&A, including a more vibrant economy, more buoyant equity markets, and stronger capital positions at insurers."

The Conning Research study, "Global Insurance Mergers & Acquisitions in 2010: Moving from Defense to Offense" tracks and analyzes both U.S. and non-U.S. insurance industry M&A activity across property-casualty, life, health and distribution and services sectors.

"Despite the pickup in M&A in 2010, insurers were generally cautious in their plays. Target properties were largely midsized companies offering accretive bolt-on opportunities, in contrast to the large consolidations seen in earlier periods of strong insurance M&A activity," said Stephan Christiansen, director of research at Conning. "Specialty underwriting units were a strong focus for activity, as were specialty distribution groups. Insurers in 2010 also actively pursued alternatives to outright M&A of risk bearing entities in order to minimize reserve risk and the complexities of integration following a merger. Marquee underwriters or underwriting teams were sought out and hired, and managing general agents were acquisition targets as well."

"Global Insurance Mergers & Acquisitions in 2010: Moving from Defense to Offense" is available for purchase from Conning Research & Consulting by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting the company's web site at www.conningresearch.com.

About Conning Research & Consulting

Conning Research & Consulting is a division of Conning, a provider of asset management and insurance industry research and consulting services to insurers.  Conning Research & Consulting has published independent insurance industry research for 50 years, including market coverage of 30 segments of the industry in addition to industry forecasting and identification and analysis of major strategic issues. As a result of its wealth of experience and intimate knowledge of the insurance industry, Conning understands industry challenges and opportunities and provides in-depth analyses on a wide range of industry products and issues. Conning is headquartered in Hartford, CT.

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