Organic growth hits 3% at Willis broking unit

Willis broking unit

Willis Towers Watson’s Corporate Risk & Broking division made an operating profit of $122m (£94.6m) in the first quarter of 2017, up 11% on the $110m it made in last year’s first quarter.

Revenue in the broking unit grew 1% to $650m (Q1 2016: £641m). The growth was 3% at constant exchange rates, and organic growth was 3%.

The company said that the international division had led revenue growth in the broking division, mainly because of regulatory changes, which brought forward business into the first quarter of 2017.

Willis Towers Watson said China and Hong Kong delivered “significant new business”, while western Europe had “strong organic growth”, mainly in southern Europe and France, thanks to new business wins.

UK business grew “slightly” because of growth in property and casualty business. North America revenue fell “slightly”, which the company said reflected a strong first quarter in 2016.

Improvement in the Willis broking unit was also reflected at group level.

Group net profit rose 46% to $344m in the first quarter of 2017 from $238m in the first quarter of 2016.

Total revenues increased by 4% to $2.3bn (Q1 2016: $2.2bn) and operating costs fell 3% to $1.86bn (Q1 2016: $1.91bn).

Willis Towers Watson chief executive John Haley said: “I’m very pleased with the first quarter results, and particularly pleased for our colleagues, who have worked with unwavering focus on our clients and in unifying and integrating Willis Towers Watson.”