CALEDONIA — Acrisure LLC remained the largest buyer of insurance brokers across North America in the first half of 2017.
The Caledonia-based Acrisure closed on 48 deals during the first six months of the year. That easily outpaced the second-highest acquirer, Deerfield, Ill.-based Alera Group, a private equity-backed firm formed early this year that closed on 27 deals, according to a quarterly report Chicago-based Optis Partners LLC.
Acrisure’s buying spree continued in the third quarter with the recent acquisition of Northrim Benefits Group LLC in Anchorage, Alaska from Northrim BanCorp Inc. The transaction closed Aug. 1 and is the second acquisition in Alaska for Acrisure, which bought Alaska USA Insurance Brokers Commercial Insurance and Employees Benefits back in December.
Northrim Benefits Group will consolidate into Insurance Brokers of Alaska and operate as RISQ Consulting.
“This partnership represents a phenomenal opportunity for RISQ Consulting to expand its menu of services to deliver greater value to clients,” said Acrisure CEO Greg Williams. “Together with Insurance Brokers of Alaska, RISQ Consulting will be able to provide a comprehensive suite of products and services including business consulting, employee benefits and administration services, and property and casualty solutions to our current and prospective clients.”
Acrisure operates 120 insurance agencies in 27 states and is the fastest-growing insurance brokerage in the U.S. Initially backed by San Francisco-based private equity firm Genstar Capital LLC, Acrisure has been growing rapidly the last few years through an aggressive acquisition strategy, closing 63 deals in 2016 and 56 in 2015. The company made 22 acquisitions in 2014 and 11 in 2013.
Last November, Acrisure completed a $2.9 billion management-led buyout of Genstar Capital, which is also a major investor in Alera Group.
The company’s acquisition strategy follows a wave of consolidation nationally among insurance brokers.
Across the U.S. and Canada, buyers closed on 185 deals during the second quarter of 2017, versus 115 in the same period in 2016, according to Optis Partners. The firm counted 320 deals during the first half of this year, which compares to 237 deals in the first six months of last year.
Optis Partners expects the consolidation to continue “barring some calamitous events,” with 2017 becoming another record-setting year for M&A in the insurance brokerage industry.
The consulting firm noted in its quarterly report that “buyers remain willing and able to aggressively pursue acquisition opportunities with a robust pipeline of prospective sellers” and that “new private equity capital continues to flow into the broker space, indicating investors remain bullish on the industry.”
For the 12-month period from June 2016 to June 2017, Optis Partners counted 539 brokerage acquisitions in the U.S. and Canada. That compares with 460 deals in the prior 12-month period.