Increasing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity could deliver a bonanza for brokers and insurers.

A survey of 200 M&A experts found 74% forecast a growing number of deals after a relative lull.

Growing risk awareness in the wake of the Enron scandal and other high-profile corporate collapses means more acquisitions are likely to be covered by specialist insurance. And brokers are likely to see increased demand for their expertise in evaluating cover bought by acquisition targets.

Global broker Willis alone expects its M&A unit to see 50% revenue growth this year from work on due diligence.

Nathan Sewell, UK and international practice leader of Willis' mergers and acquisitions operation, said demand for specialist M&A insurance services was growing not only for big deals but relatively small ones and even those in industries previously considered safe.

His unit was called in to perform extensive risk and insurance due diligence for a private equity client on a transaction worth about £20m - when it is considered unusual to see due diligence insurance on transactions worth less than £100m.