Best's Review



From the Editor's Desk
Let’s Make a Deal

Axa CEO Thomas Buberl discusses the XL acquisition as the insurance industry undergoes a wave of M&A. The July issue includes Best’s Review’s annual ranking of the top global brokers and rankings of top insurers.
  • Patricia Vowinkel
  • July 2019
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In an intensely competitive market where growth is hard to come by, many insurers are considering their options and deciding the best way to grow is through acquisitions—or alternatively by selling out to the highest bidder.

The deal activity has cut across most insurance industry sectors, from property/casualty, life, health and insurance brokers.

Some of the marquee deals of the past few years in the property/casualty business include Ace's $28 billion acquisition of Chubb (with Ace then taking the name of Chubb), Axa's $15 billion acquisition of XL and AIG's $5.56 billion acquisition of Validus.

Major deals have been announced in health insurance. Cigna closed on its $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts late last year. CVS Health's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Aetna is currently before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in a Tunney Act review to decide whether the merger is legal, although it has already closed.

Brokers also have been in the spotlight, highlighted by Marsh & McLennan's $5.6 billion acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group.

AM Best, in a Best's Briefing from May 2018, explained some of the reasons for the deals.

“Drivers contributing to the recent M&A activity include the perceived need to build scale and relevance—particularly in the reinsurance sector, which remains under pressure from alternative capital,” according to the briefing.

Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg earlier this year expressed his doubts about much of the activity.

“To me, many of the transactions that have taken place recently in our industry make little strategic sense—the prices paid were excessive and the deals seem to be either about size for size's sake, or motivated by a short-term desire to dress up results and deflect away from the core issues the companies are wrestling with,” he said.

The July issue of Best's Review features an interview with Thomas Buberl, the CEO of Axa. In “The Next Chapter,” he discusses his reasons for the XL deal and his vision for the company's future.

The insurance brokerage sector is being reshaped by the record-breaking deal activity. Find out what's driving this activity and what it means for insurers and insureds in “A Perfect Storm.”

The July issue also features Best's Review's annual ranking of the top global brokers. July is Brokers and Agents Awareness Month. Find out how the brokers rank based on 2018 total revenue in “Top Global Insurance Brokers.”

This issue also includes our annual rankings of the top U.S. and World insurers based on exclusive AM Best data.

One of the key missions of AM Best is to provide insurance buyers with information about the financial strength of their insurers. For 113 years, AM Best has been issuing Financial Strength Ratings or opinions on the ability of individual insurers to pay claims on the coverage they have underwritten. In “Standing the Test of Time,” Best's Review identifies insurers that have maintained a Best's Financial Strength Rating of A or higher for at least 50 years and at least 75 years.

Patricia Vowinkel, Executive Editor,

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