At 232, the number of insurance agency mergers and acquisitions in the first half of 2016 came in just one fewer than 2015′s record first half of 233 deals, according to data from Chicago-based OPTIS Partners, an investment banking and financial consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry.

First-half M&A activity this year also extended the streak of 100 or more transactions to seven consecutive quarters. The last three-month period when brokers did not complete at least 100 deals occurred in the third quarter of 2014.

"Buyers and sellers continued to feed their hearty appetites for deals and push up the M&A activity trend line," said Timothy J. Cunningham, managing director of OPTIS, and National Underwriter P&C/PC360 advisory board member. "We anticipate the recent strong industry-consolidation trend will continue for the near term as acquisitions are an important growth strategy for many firms, especially those backed by private-equity capital."

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