CALEDONIA — Acrisure LLC capped off its most active year for M&A with the acquisition of Milwaukee, Wis.-based HNI Risk Services at the end of 2018.
The deal for HNI closed Dec. 31, according to a report by BizTimes Milwaukee, which indicated the firm will retain local staff, leadership and its brand name, a regular practice for Acrisure in its acquisitions.
HNI has offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis. The transaction does not include HNI’s Grand Rapids office, which remains independent, principal John Rogers said.
During the past year, Acrisure was by far the most active acquirer of insurance agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
The Caledonia-based Acrisure, which has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy for years, closed on 101 deals in 2018, according to a quarterly report by Chicago-based Optis Partners LLC. Hub International was the second most-active acquirer with 59 transactions.
Since 2014, Acrisure has closed on 334 acquisitions, according to Optis Partners, which tracks M&A in the insurance brokerage industry.
The acquisition strategy has grown Acrisure’s annual revenues from $650 million to $1.5 billion in two years, and increased the company’s enterprise value to more than $7 billion today, compared to $2.6 billion in 2016.
Acrisure today owns more than 400 partner insurance agencies in 32 states that offer property and casualty policies, employee benefits, human resource outsourcing, loss and claims management, surety bonding and personal lines solutions. The firm employs about 5,600 people.
As 2018 came to a close, Acrisure received a $2.6 billion capital investment from existing investors, about $240 million of which will go toward acquisitions in the U.S., Canada and Europe, CEO Greg Williams told MiBiz at the time.
Across the U.S. and Canada, the insurance brokerage industry has been going through consolidation, with a record 611 transactions in 2018. That compares to 611 deals in 2017 and 461 transactions in 2016.
Optis Partners noted in a recent report that the 330 recorded transaction in the second half of 2018 exceeded any full year prior to 2014 as a “concentration of buyer activity within the most-active buyers continues to increase.”
The industry shows “no obvious end in sight for the continued aggressive M&A activity and valuations,” according to Optis Partners.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to note that HNI’s office in Grand Rapids was not included in the deal with Acrisure.