Insurance M&A volumes increased in the second half of 2017 for the first time in two years

(FILES) A London office block known as t...
Insurance M&A volumes grew in the second half of 2017 (Source: Getty)

Insurance M&A volumes increased in the second half of 2017 for the first time in two years, new research shows.

The insurance M&A report by law firm Clyde & Co showed that M&A volumes in the insurance space rose in the second half of 2017, the first increase for two years.

There were 350 completed M&A deals in the global insurance sector last year, down from 387 the previous year.

However, activity picked up in the second half of the year, the first increase in volume in two years.

Read more: Standard Life Aberdeen sells insurance arm for £3.2bn

Clyde & Co’s corporate insurance head Andrew Holderness said: “After a lacklustre couple of years for transactions, this rise in activity indicates a renewed level of confidence in deal-making as a tried-and-tested route to growth.

"We expect this momentum to continue with M&A returning to form as insurance businesses seek to build scale and geographic reach, generate efficiencies and deploy innovative technologies to access new customers with new products through new channels.”

The chief executive of Aviva Mark Wilson said yesterday that Aviva was targeting more M&A in 2018 and was currently sitting on a £600m cash pile.

“Insurance M&A seems to be the hot topic at the moment and I expect you will see that continue,” he said.

“We are getting plenty of growth and we have a big cash pile”, he said, adding that Aviva had “shown we are ruthless on M&A” and was planning on targeting places like Poland and Turkey for acquisitions in 2018.

Read more: Axa to buy Bermuda-based property and casualty insurer XL Group for $15.3bn

Key M&A deals in the insurance sector this year include French insurer Axa agreeing to buy New York-listed property and casualty commercial lines insurer XL Group for $15.3bn (£11.1bn) earlier this week.

While last month Standard Life Aberdeen sold its insurance arm to specialist insurer Phoenix in a deal worth £3.24bn.

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