Richmond, Va. — The last year has seen a spate of mergers and acquisitions of insurers and the vendors that supply them. In April, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group announced plans to acquire Seattle’s Safeco Corp. This summer, deals have sprouted like dandelions, with well-known insurance vendors such AdminServer, Skywire Software and Clear Technology Inc. all coming under new ownership.

Despite the public air of optimism that pervades every deal, most participants would privately acknowledge the inherent risk in melding disparate entities together. One particularly acute risk is the loss of key personnel in the wake of the deal, which may engender instability and the loss of firm-specific knowledge.

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