Insurers turn their back on M&A and look for alternative ways to grow

Hayley Kirton
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No thanks, M&A: Insurers have found new ways to grow (Source: Getty)

The number of completed mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector has slumped in recent months, a report out today has found.

The research by law firm Clyde & Co found that there were just 173 deals worldwide between October 2015 and March 2016, compared with 250 in the six months before that.

The law firm has noticed insurers turning to other avenues to grow their business. There has been a trend towards companies setting up shop in different geographical markets or entering into a joint venture with a local partner.

Read more: Referendum uncertainty "significantly weakened" UK's European M&A dominance

Other insurers have been investing in technology start-ups. For example, data from Accenture showed that insurance technology start-ups pulled in $2.6bn (£1.97bn) worth of investment in 2015, up from $800m the year before.

"While the appeal of M&A is clear, the challenges of finding the right target and, significantly, at the right price, may cause insurance businesses to consider other routes for growth," said Andrew Holderness, global head of the corporate insurance group at Clyde & Co.

Holderness also highlighted the uncertainty caused by the recent referendum as one factor that could be putting insurers off signing on the dotted line.

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In particular, now that the vote to Leave has been revealed, some companies may be rethinking their current business model to make sure it still works if the UK cannot secure favourable passporting rights in its Brexit negotiations.

Holderness added: "Market conditions in many insurance sectors are not expected to improve in the foreseeable future. As a result, insurance businesses will need to examine every available avenue as they look for creative answers to the issues they face in the next few years."

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