Alera Group expands New England presence with benefits brokerage buy

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Alera Group is at it again. The national insurance firm announced Thursday its acquisition of Comprehensive Benefit Administrators, a Norwell, Massachusetts insurance and benefits brokerage.

This marks the Deerfield Illinois-based company’s 77th deal since Alera’s inception in 2017, according to data from investment banking and financial consulting firm Optis Partners. So far this year the firm has made 11 acquisitions including Shepler & Fear General Agency, Shomer Insurance Agency, Phalanx Healthcare Solutions, TriSure Corporation and Dohrmann Insurance Agency.

“We are excited to welcome Comprehensive Benefit Administrators to the Alera Group team, expanding our presence and expertise in New England,” says Alan Levitz, CEO of Alera Group. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

See also: Alera Group completes 10th acquisition this year

Alera Group has more than 1,700 employees and serves clients in the employee benefits, property and casualty, risk management and wealth management spaces. The brokerage says it plans to continue to acquire “high quality, like-minded firms” moving forward.

Michael McKenna, president of Comprehensive Benefit Administrators called the move a “fantastic step” for the brokerage. “We look forward to offering national resources to our clients alongside our powerful local relationships,” he says.

Insurance brokerage M&A continues at a record breaking pace. The number of acquisition reached its highest ever last year with 626 deals and is on track to outpace last year’s record, says Timothy Cunningham, managing director of Optis Partners.

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The first half of the year was busy, with 328 transactions compared to 300 in the first half of 2018, according to the Optis June 2019 Merger and Acquisition Update. Acrisure led with 39 acquisitions, followed by Hub (26), Patriot Growth Insurance Services (21), Broadstreet Partners (18) and Gallagher (16).

“The market is still very robust,” Cunningham says. “We’ve got a well capitalized buy-side group and a large inventory of baby boomer-owned firms that haven’t prepared to perpetuate. A third-party sale is their only option.”

Cunningham adds that record high valuations are also driving deals. “Firms that may be looking out two or three years are saying I’ll go ahead and capture lightning in a bottle now,” he says.

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