M&A is set to be among the biggest stories of 2011

And so we come to the end of 2010 – and what a year. Who’d have thought that, in a period of soft rates and economic gloom, the market could see so much action? You’ll find the highlights on page 19, but here are five predictions to kick off the coming year:

1. A fight for business between Aviva and AXA at the top of the market will prevent rates from hardening, so the market cycle won’t shift any time soon. A cataclysmic event aside, the only thing that could move the UK market would be some M&A action …

2. … And insurer deals are coming. Whether it’s RSA and Aviva (don’t imagine that’s gone away) or private equity and overseas players looking to make inroads at the smaller end of the market, insurer M&A will be one of the biggest stories of 2011.

3. Over in broker land, meanwhile, the planned flotations are stacking up. Not all the brokers mulling an IPO will be able to float at their current size; as well as integration and management changes, they will need some big buys to achieve their ambitions.

4. We haven’t seen the last of mayhem in the motor market. Those that took the hit first will fare best. Expect more reserve injections and casualties next year.

5. Technology will help define the winners and losers. From internal systems to new trading platforms, those that move first and fast will get ahead of the pack.

It’s going to be fun. But until then, happy holidays, have a great break, and remember that insurancetimes.co.uk will keep bringing you the news and analysis right across the Christmas period. We’ll be back in print on 6 January. IT