NU Online News Service, Jan. 9, 4:41 p.m. – Investment banks working on life and health insurance mergers and acquisitions saw a better market in the fourth quarter of 2002 than the bankers handling most other types of financial services M&A deals, according to SNL Financial L.C., Charlottesville, Va.

Life and health deals accounted for $1.5 billion in deal volume for the quarter, up from about $300 million in deal volume for the fourth quarter of 2001, and the average deal price for insurance M&A transactions of all kinds increased to 119% of book value, from 96%, SNL says.

Deal volume and price-to-book ratios for most other types of financial services M&A deals were down, SNL says.