NU Online News Service, July 11, 2003, 1:01 p.m. EDT – Insurance companies announced 53 mergers and acquisitions in the second quarter, down from 81 in the second quarter of 2002, according to SNL Financial L.C., Charlottesville, Va.

The total value of the deals announced during the latest quarter was $4.6 billion. Although the value was down from $5.8 billion in the second quarter of 2002, it was up from less than $1 billion in the first quarter.

The big events in the insurance M&A market in the first quarter were a move by American International Group Inc., New York, to acquire two insurance units of General Electric Company, Fairfield, Conn., and a move by WellPoint Health Networks Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., to acquire Cobalt Corp., Milwaukee.

Insurance company acquirers were paying an average of 130% of the target’s book value, down from an average of 266% for deals announced during the second quarter of 2002, SNL says.