HUB International expands employee benefits business with latest M&A deal

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HUB International, a global insurance brokerage, has been on an M&A hot streak this year, having closed 42 deals in 2020, including its latest acquisition to expand the company’s employee benefits business.

HUB International acquired the Vitolo Company on Nov. 16, 2020, a Seattle-based independent insurance agency that provides employee benefits, group benefit planning and compliance consulting to employer clients. Terms of this deal were not disclosed.

“The Vitolo Company is a well-established, regional employee benefits firm, providing comprehensive employee benefits solutions and retirement plans with an expertise in the technology sector,” says Tim Kennedy, executive vice president and employee benefits market leader at HUB, who noted that the deal will expand its employee benefits and retirement practice in the Northwest and specifically in the Puget Sound region in Washington state.

Some of HUB’s recent deals through October and November include the assets of Leading Edge Benefit Advisors, a Florida-based firm that specializes in employee benefits, retirement planning and wealth management solutions. HUB has also acquired the assets of Baystate Fiduciary Advisors, a Boston-based firm offering investment fiduciary advisory services and the insurance brokerage assets of the Olson Insurance Agency and Insure All, a pair of Virginia-based providers of personal and commercial insurance services.

Read More: HUB International acquires Leading Edge Benefit Advisors

Kennedy says HUB plans to continue it’s M&A streak as 2020 comes to a close. At the beginning of the year M&A activity across the board saw a COVID-19 related decline. The number of deals done in the second quarter dropped by 29% from the previous year, according to data from PwC. Additionally, there were only 288 insurance agency deals during the first half of 2020, a decline from 328 for the same time period in 2019, OPTIS Partners data.

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However, there has been a rebound in the latter part of the year, according to Timothy Cunningham, managing director of OPTIS Partners.

“While we saw a COVID-19 related slowdown in overall M&A activity, including employee benefits brokers, in March and April, it came roaring back in the third quarter,” Cunningham says. “[There’s been] the same number of announced transactions in that quarter as for the same period in 2019, with the same for the fourth quarter. Likewise, we do not anticipate any change in activity in 2021 and beyond. There remains an ample inventory of sellers courted by a well-capitalized buyer group.”

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