2012 was a record-breaking year for the number of announced insurance brokerage mergers and acquisitions, principally due to the higher capital gains tax that became effective in 2013. It was a year in transition, culminating with active third and fourth quarters. However, first-quarter 2014 was the most active first quarter for transactions in the last 10 years.

A telling trend is the rise and now dominance of the private equity-backed buyer group. In 2013, more announced deals were consummated by the private equity-backed segment than the heretofore most active private group and the relatively active public broker group. Not only are such large private equity-backed companies as Hub and USI very active, but Assured Partners also emerged into this category. Three of the most active acquirers in 2013 and in the last three years were private equity-backed buyers. Other smaller but active private equity-funded buyers included Acrisure, BroadStreet Partners and The Hilb Group.

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