NU Online News Service, Jan. 2, 1:59 p.m. – SNL Securities L.C., Charlottesville, Va., says financial services companies announced 43 life and health insurance mergers and acquisitions in 2001 with a total deal value of $59 billion, compared with a total of 47 deals and $12 billion in deal value for 2000.

But the 2001 statistics included the aborted effort by Prudential P.L.C., London, to acquire American General Corp., Houston, for $24.6 billion, The British Prudential, which is unrelated to Prudential Financial Corp., Newark, N.J., eventually lost out to American International Group Inc., New York.

Even if the Prudential/American General deal is excluded, 2001 life and health M&A deal value amounts to $34 billion, SNL says.

On the property-casualty side, deal value fell to $1.9 billion, from $8.9 billion.

SNL quoted analysts who identified John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, as a particularly attractive target for potential acquirers in 2002.