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Insurance M&A 2022 review: Deal activity slows from prior-year highs

Despite a large acquisition made by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. early in the year, insurance deal activity slowed significantly in 2022, hitting the lowest volume since 2019, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

While 2021 was a particularly active year for insurance broker deals, with 1,150 announced over the course of the year, 2022 saw much lower activity with 685 through the end of November — the lowest volume since 2019.

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Insurance underwriter deal volume also declined year over year, falling from 184 in 2021 to 105 in 2022.

Sector deals on the decline

The number of deals in the property and casualty, multiline sector as well as the aggregate transaction value fell sharply in 2022. A total number of 61 deals were announced in 2022 with an aggregate transaction value of $1.20 billion. In the prior year, 81 deals were announced with an aggregate transaction value totaling $12.81 billion.

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Transaction values in the life sector also fell significantly in 2022, with an aggregate total value of $1.75 billion across 30 deals. That figure is the lowest since at least 2018 and is a major decline from 2021, which saw 62 deals with a total aggregate value of $27.26 billion.

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Berkshire Hathaway seals largest deal

Eleven of the 15 largest insurance deals of 2022 were announced during the first half of the year and eight of the deals targeted insurance brokers.

The largest insurance transaction announced in 2022 was Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s acquisition of property and casualty reinsurance company Alleghany Corp. The massive $11.57 billion deal was announced in March and completed in October.

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* Download our Insurance Underwriters M&A Deal Book & Heat Map.

Soon after the deal was announced, Alleghany was sued by a shareholder who accused the insurance company of making inadequate and misleading disclosures. The federal lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed just weeks after it was filed, according to court documents.

The second largest insurance deal of 2022 Brown & Brown Inc.'s acquisition of Global Risk Partners Ltd. was also announced in March. The $1.79 billion deal was finalized in July, and since being acquired, Global Risk Partners has made acquisitions of its own, purchasing U.K.-based commercial insurance broker CC Flint and Co. Ltd. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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One of the largest insurance transactions announced during the second quarter of 2022 was White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd.'s deal to sell NSM Insurance Group LLC to The Carlyle Group Inc. in a transaction valued at $1.78 billion. The deal, first disclosed in May, closed in August.