US broker deal set to strengthen North America presence.

Willis has completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs Company (HRH), in a move the broker claims will double its revenues and geographic presence in North America, and strengthen key practice areas.

Willis announced a definitive agreement to acquire HRH on June 8, 2008.

It said the addition of HRH expands Willis’ local presence from 70 to 210 locations in North America, and strengthens the company’s position in a number of important U.S. markets. Willis is now among the top three brokers in 15 of the 20 largest U.S. markets, up from only five of those markets previously.

The acquisition also expands Willis’ middle-market and large-account presence, more than doubles its North American revenues in Employee Benefits – an already strong area of expertise that Willis has targeted for further growth – and triples the company’s Personal Lines business. Real estate, health care, environmental, construction, complex property and executive risk are among the other key practice areas bolstered by the acquisition.

In addition, HRH’s successful business model serving small and medium enterprises, when combined with Willis’ existing platform developed through its 2007 acquisition of InsuranceNoodle™, will drive even more growth and profitability in the Commercial segment, which represents upward of 75 percent of the combined companies’ total number of clients.

Joe Plumeri, chairman and CEO of Willis, said: “Our combination with HRH transforms our North American operations into a larger, stronger and more diverse business with greater growth potential than ever before.

“We’re adding some of the best talent this industry has to offer, expanding our local market presence, strengthening our position with middle-market clients and growing significantly in key practice areas that offer tremendous potential for the future. We’ve already made great progress with our Shaping our Future growth strategy and the addition of HRH will accelerate that performance momentum for the benefit of our company and our shareholders."

Willis added that outside of North America, the combination strengthens Willis’ position in the London market. In particular, the addition of HRH’s Glencairn business, which will operate under its existing name as part of the newly formed Faber & Dumas entity, creates a new capability and a new growth opportunity for the company as a third-party wholesale broker.

Following the completion of the acquisition, the retail operation of Willis North America will be known as Willis HRH.