‘Uncertainty is the enemy of deal-making,’ says partner

Insurance merger and acquisition (M&A) activity across Europe hit its lowest level for more than a decade in H1 2023, according to Clyde and Co’s Insurance Growth Report 2023: Mid-year update.

However, Eva-Maria Barbosa, partner at Clyde and Co in Munich, told Insurance Times that the drop was expected to be “short-lived” and that activity should pick up again in the second half of the year.

According to the report, which was published last week (10 August 2023), some 171 deals were completed globally in H1 2023 – a drop from 207 in H2 2022.

And across Europe, the number of deals dropped from 60 in H2 2022 to 47 in H1 2023.

In the UK specifically, only 11 were made, while eight were confirmed in France and six in Spain.

“Given the time taken between announcement and completion of a deal is typically nine to 18 months, the number of completed deals we are seeing now reflect the market sentiment from early 2022,” Barbosa said.

“Uncertainty is the enemy of deal-making and that time was marked by an unprecedented level of uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the knock-on effects on the economy, which spooked investors.

“Carrier M&A in Europe hit a low point in the first half of 2023, but we expect this to be short-lived.”


Barbosa explained that she expected deals to increase in the second half of the year.

For example, she said the London market had “settled to a certain extent” following knock-on effects from macroeconomic impacts and deals “that had been put on hold are starting to progress”.

“M&A in Europe won’t reach the levels of 2022 again for some time, but it will begin to pick up again in the second part of the year,” she said.

“We are already seeing transactions come back in the broker space, paving the way for carrier activity to follow.”

The report further highlighted that MGA partnerships were “proving to be popular in many regions” and in the UK specifically, “the market is growing substantially”.

It added that in the London market, there “appears to be growing interest in Lloyd’s, with capital seeking to enter via full syndicates, special purpose arrangements and syndicates-in-a-box”.

However, it said finding capital for insurtech businesses “at any size or stage of development” was “proving difficult” in Europe.