Top West Region Insurance M&As of 2020
Jan 5, 2021
January 5, 2021
The top M&A story of 2020 was more a global than national story but it captured more readers in every geographic location than any other. Since it was first announced in March, the proposed Aon-Willis merger remained the leading merger and non-merger insurance story for the entire year. But there were also other proposed and completed transactions that caught the eyes of Insurance Journal’s West audience. Here are the M&A reports of most interest to West region readers in 2020:
Global insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson in March announced they had agreed to merge in an all-stock transaction with an implied combined equity value of approximately $80 billion. Upon completion of the combination, existing Aon shareholders will own approximately 63% and existing Willis Towers Watson shareholders will own approximately 37% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. According to S&P, Aon intends to combine with Willis in an all-stock transaction valued at about $30 billion, with Willis shares being exchanged to Aon shares. The combined company will be named Aon. Combined the companies have more than $20 billion in revenue. Aon reported $11 billion in revenue with $2.2 billion net income for 2019 compared to $9 billion revenue and $1.4 billion net income for Willis Towers Watson. Aon will maintain operating headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The parent company will be incorporated in Ireland. The combined firm will have 95,000 employees globally, with what the announcement said will be a “significant presence” in Chicago, New York and Singapore. John Haley will take on the role of executive chairman with a focus on growth and innovation strategy. The combined firm will be led by Greg Case and Aon Chief Financial Officer Christa Davies. The board of directors will comprise proportional members from Aon and Willis Towers Watson’s current directors. In December Aon confirmed that the European Commission has initiated a review of the proposed merger. Aon said the review is a common next step “for a transaction of this size and complexity” and said it remains on track to close the deal in the first half of 2021. Zurich Insurance and Farmers Exchanges in December agreed to buy MetLife’s U.S. property and casualty business for $3.94 billion, the insurers said, in an environment where the COVID-19 pandemic has made motor and home insurers more profitable. The Swiss insurer will contribute $2.43 billion to the deal through its Farmers Group Inc (FGI) unit, while the Farmers Exchanges will contribute $1.51 billion. The deal will give Farmers Exchanges, to which FGI provides administrative and management services, a nationwide presence in the U.S. and access to new distribution channels. In September, California-based Hippo, an insurtech managing general agent focused on home insurance, completed its acquisition of Spinnaker Insurance Co., with an expansion into additional states next on its plate. The deal follows a multi-year partnership between the companies. Spinnaker is a New Jersey-based national property/casualty insurer, with a license to do business in all 50 states. Hippo noted that Spinnaker has been its largest carrier platform partner since 2017. With Spinnaker and its other carrier partners, Hippo provides home insurance in more than 31 states. Insurance broker Brown & Brown has acquired CoverHound, a digital property/casualty insurance marketplace, and CyberPolicy, CoverHound’s small business subsidiary. California-based CoverHound launched in early 2010 and raised more than $112 million in venture capital over the last decade, including a $58 million funding round in 2019 with lead investor Hiscox and other investors including Chubb, Aflac Ventures, and MS&AD in Japan. In 2015, Chubb (then ACE) took a 24% stake in CoverHound. However, with this deal, Brown & Brown will assume 100% ownership. Tokio Marine Holdings announced in February that it had completed the acquisition of New York-based Privilege Underwriters Inc. and its subsidiaries, known as Pure Group, which specializes in the U.S. high net worth insurance market. The acquisition price was $3.1 billion (approximately JPY 325.5B). The deal was completed through Tokio Marine’s wholly owned subsidiary HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. Tokio Marine acquired 100% of Privilege Underwriters Inc.’s shares from existing shareholders that include Stone Point (51%), KKR (34%), AXA XL (10%), Pure management and others (5%).For 2018, Pure reported fee income of $229 million, a before-tax profit of $73 million and $963 million premiums under management. Its business profile is composed of homeowners (57%), auto (23%), inland marine (9%), and other lines for high-net worth clients. In December, Charlotte, N.C.-based Truist Insurance Holdings reported that it will complete five insurance acquisitions the fourth quarter, adding more than $100 million of combined annual revenue to its wholesale division. The most recent of these transactions was the acquisition of Wellington Risk Holdings, Inc., an insurtech that operates as a managing general agent in the admitted residential property markets, with a strong presence in Texas. Wellington has developed a virtual marketplace offering that includes an easy-to-use agent portal for placing residential property insurance business. The insurance firm, a subsidiary of Truist Financial Corp. has already closed on three transactions this quarter: W. Brown & Associates Property & Casualty, an Irvine, California-based surplus lines broker and MGA; Specialty Risk Associates , a Shreveport, Louisiana-based surplus lines broker and MGA; and Program Insurance Management of Sarasota, a Sarasota, Florida-based managing general underwriter with specialized programs for industrial chemical manufacturers and distributors. In addition to Wellington, Truist said it expects to close a transaction with Fidelis Group Holdings, a Covington, Louisiana-based provider of specialty insurance products for the marine and cargo industries, by year end. Truist Insurance Holdings, formerly BB&T Insurance Holdings, operates more than 250 offices through its subsidiaries: McGriff (comprising McGriff Insurance Services and McGriff, Seibels & Williams); CRC Insurance Services; Crump Life Insurance Services; AmRisc; and its Premium Finance companies (AFCO Credit Corp., Prime Rate Premium Finance Corp., and CAFO). Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Las Vegas-based CRES Insurance Services in June. The CRES team is continuing to operate from its locations in Las Vegas and San Diego under the direction of Kevin Garvin, head of Gallagher’s North American Affinity operations. CRES markets errors & omissions insurance and risk management services to real estate firms and professionals, particularly in the Southwest. AssuredPartners Inc. acquired Wateridge Insurance Services Inc. of San Diego in March. The team of 67 has remained under the operational leadership of Jeff Byroads, John Clanton and John Dorris. Wateridge sells home, auto, life, health and business insurance. The agency reports $12 million in annualized revenues. TRISTAR Insurance Group Inc. in January agreed to acquire San Diego, Calif.-based Aspen Risk Management Group. All Aspen employees are continuing to operate under the name Aspen Risk Management Group, a TRISTAR Company. In addition to its risk control services, Aspen provides remote ergonomics, online service platforms, and specialty services for both commercial and government clients. Long Beach, Calif.-based TRISTAR is an independent third-party claims administrator that serves self-insureds, insurance carriers, program underwriters, public entities and risk pools. Texas-based TWFG Insurance acquired Penguin Insurance Services in Milpitas, Calif in December. Penguin is a network of independent brokers, which supports brokers throughout California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Washington and Arizona. The Woodlands Financial Group is a national insurance agency based in The Woodlands, Texas. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Charles W. Merriam & Son Inc., d/b/a The Merriam Agency, in September. Founded in 1895, The Merriam Agency has offices in upstate New York and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team offers commercial, personal lines and employee benefits coverages and specializes in serving nonprofit and social service clients across the U.S.
Sompo International Holdings Ltd. acquired W. Brown & Associates Insurance Services in Irvine, Calif. In December. Brown has been a managing general underwriter for Sompo International since 2016. Brown provides general aviation insurance products and services for both airborne and ground based exposures. The Brown operations will remain intact ad will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sompo International, a Bermuda-based specialty property/casualty insurer and reinsurer. NFP acquired Koty-Leavitt Insurance Agency Inc. in Tucson, Ariz. In January Lloyd Koty, a former co-owner of the firm, joined NFP as senior vice president, reporting to Ed Kurowski, NFP West region managing director. Koty-Leavitt specializes in insurance to medical device distributors. NFP is an insurance broker and consultant providing specialized property/casualty, corporate benefits, retirement and individual solutions through its licensed subsidiaries and affiliates. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired San Diego, Calif.-based AWIS Group in November. The AWIS team will continue to operate from their current location under the direction of Adam Mazan, head of the Pacific West Region for Risk Placement Services Inc., Gallagher’s U.S. wholesale brokerage operation. AWIS is a wholesale insurance broker offering commercial coverages as well as high-net-worth personal lines, primarily through California-based insurance agencies. Crest Insurance Group acquired John Creps Insurance Agency in Flagstaff, Ariz. In May. The Creps Agency is a property/casualty agency also offering life and disability insurance in addition to annuities. Crest has Arizona offices in Tucson, Scottsdale, Flagstaff, Sierra Vista, as well as in San Diego, Calif., and in Denver and Ft. Collins, Colo.