"Now's when I'd sell" – Pat Gallagher on broker M&A

Brokerage head provides outlook on recession, M&A, and more

"Now's when I'd sell" – Pat Gallagher on broker M&A

Mergers & Acquisitions

By Jen Frost

“I think brokers are opportunistic and smart people, and if I had a business to sell then now’s when I’d sell it,” was Gallagher CEO J Patrick Gallagher Jr’s message on brokerage mergers & acquisitions (M&A) during an earnings call with analysts.

Gallagher spoke as the broker revealed its second quarter results for 2022, posting revenue growth of 22%.

Last week, Marsh McLennan CEO Dan Glaser said the world’s largest global broker was not raising any recession “red flags” yet, and Gallagher was also confident on Gallagher’s prospects in an economic downturn.

“If you go back to 2007 and 2008, [or] the pandemic clenches, we learned again, which we have through many tough times, that our clients will stop paying their people before they stop paying their premiums,” Gallagher said. “And that’s a pretty good business to be in regardless of the economy.”

The Gallagher boss said there was “next to no slowdown” in premium increases during the quarter.

“When I look at our renewal premiums by line for nearly all coverages, second quarter increases were equal to or higher than first quarter,” Gallagher said.

One exception to the rule, though, was professional liability – and Gallagher said this was “mostly” seen in directors & officers’.

“Additionally, we are not seeing any significant signs of economic slowdown,” Gallagher said. “In fact, second quarter midterm policy endorsements and cancellations continue to trend more favourably than a year ago.”

Looking to reinsurance, Gallagher said there were “very real signs of hardening in the reinsurance market.”

“Property reinsurance pricing is up across the board and most notably US hurricane and Australian property risks are up anywhere from 15% to more than 40%,” Gallagher said.

In casualty, there were “more modest price increases that were a bit less challenging”, according to Gallagher.


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