Insurance giant Assurant Inc. (AIZ), acquired property preservation and inspection firm Field Asset Services, in a move that illustrates the ongoing consolidation wave sweeping the field services community.

This is not the first merger and acquisition within the sector, and based on recent activity, it’s unlikely to be the last.

Assurant plans to move FAS and its 300 employees under the company’s umbrella, with the former FAS unit expected to operate out of Austin as Assurant Field Asset Services. The deal closed Monday with Assurant Specialty Property buying FAS from FirstService Corp. for $55 million.

Assurant launched a field services business in 2011, forming Assurant Property Advantage – a unit started by Assurant Specialty Property to expand the unit’s collateral protection services.  

"This acquisition leverages Assurant's resources and relationships with lending institutions, and builds on Field Asset Services' strong operating platform and vendor network," said Gene Mergelmeyer, president and CEO of Assurant Specialty Property. "Together, as leaders in the property preservation industry, we will play an increasing role in maintaining healthy, stable neighborhoods in communities nationwide."

The deal mirrors other partnerships already formed in the space.

Earlier this year, Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS), a Plano, Texas-based field services and property preservation firm announced a strategic pairing. A new holding company was created by Concentric Equity Partners and TDR Capital to operate a suit of existing mortgage field services companies, including MCS, Asset Management Specialists and Vacant Property Specialists.

At the time, the handwriting was on the wall: With the market becoming more originations-focused and distressed activity unwinding, partnerships are starting to look more attractive.

"The common ownership of these three companies, with their unique strengths and proficiencies, will strengthen our collective ability to serve our clients and expand opportunities to develop ancillary services across multiple customer channels," MCS CEO Caroline Reaves said at the time.

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