Publication Date: 26th February 2016
The 2015 Symposium on Insurance Strategies (SIS) provided insights on the drivers behind the significant increase in (re)insurance M&A activity over 2014–2015. The meeting was a chance for participants to listen to case studies from a broad range of stakeholders involved in undertaking or analysing the M&A process from a deal’s inception to the complete integration and postmortem evaluation. We were proud to open the symposium with a panel of industry leaders, all of whom had been involved in transactions in the last 12 months: Mike McGavick, CEO, XL Catlin; Stephen Hester, CEO, RSA; Walter Kielholz, Chairman, Swiss Re; and our host, Mark Wilson, CEO, Aviva. Our second panel, a range of experts from outside the industry, discussed valuation and the driving forces behind it. They provided interesting insights from the perspectives of investors, ratings agencies, management consultants and academia. And finally, our technical and operational panel offered attendees their learnings and experiences from implementing mergers and acquisitions at leading insurance companies. It became clear that the right strategy, realistic financial reasoning, sound cost estimates and well-designed integration plans (in advance!) are key to successful transactions. However, the question of value creation remains a very deal- and company-specific one. I would like to thank all our panellists for their contributions to the meeting and this review, as well as Aviva for hosting the event.