Both 2007 and 2008 played host to terrific activity in the agent-broker merger and acquisition arena. It remains to be seen, however, whether 2009 will follow suit. Given the troubling uncertainty of the insurance market and the domestic economy, prudence is in order this year for those firms considering and undertaking acquisitions.

A common downfall among acquirers is to become smitten with what I call “deal fever.” When this happens, a critical fact may be lost in all the M&A hype–namely that an acquisition’s ultimate quality stems from two conditions: the quality of the target, and the quality of integration following the closing of a transaction.

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