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    Earth shakes as Willis Research Network (WRN) teams up with EUCENTRE, Pavia to extend seismic team

    LONDON, 11 June 2008 – The Willis Research Network (WRN), part of Willis Group Holdings Limited (NYSE:WSH), today announced that the EUCENTRE in Pavia has joined its network to enhance the quality of the earthquake research and modelling it offers to the international re-insurance industry. The EUCENTRE, Europe’s largest earthquake research facility, incorporates the renowned ROSE School of postgraduate seismic research and engineering at the University of Pavia.

    Dr Rui Pinho becomes a Senior Academic within the WRN. Dr Pinho is Head of the Seismic Risk Section of EUCENTRE and Assistant Professor of Structural Design in the Department of Structural Mechanics at the University of Pavia. Dr Pinho’s main research interests include the evaluation of earthquake risk at urban or regional scale and the development of advanced analytical tools for analysis of structures subjected to seismic action. He will be joined by other members of the EUCENTRE and ROSE School Faculty, including Dr Helen Crowley, to refine new techniques for use in earthquake catastrophe models.

    The Pavia team will also be supported by Willis-funded PhD students jointly supervised by Dr Pinho and Professor Julian Bommer of WRN member, Imperial College London.

    At the WRN Seismic Group meeting held in Pavia to mark the EUCENTRE’s entry into the Network, Dr Pinho presented new research into the 1908 Messina earthquake, Europe’s most powerful earthquake in recorded history. One hundred years after the event, Dr Pinho showed how a similar event today could result in 25,000 fatalities and widespread economic losses and social breakdown.

    The EUCENTRE features the most powerful earthquake simulator, or “shaking table” in Europe and the WRN meeting coincided with the EUCENTRE performing a shaking table test of a multi-storey building as part of its ongoing experimental research programme aimed at verifying the efficiency and reliability of the Italian rules for seismic assessment.

    Professor Pinho said, “The EUCENTRE and ROSE School is delighted to join the Willis Research Network, and to have the chance of not only working closely with the top academics and researchers in the field of earthquake risk estimation, but also of gaining direct insight into the needs of the industry. The latter will help us to focus our research endeavours in those areas where there is a greater need for innovative solutions and results, something that is already instilling higher motivation and drive in our researchers."

    Rowan Douglas, Chairman of the WRN, added “Pavia is becoming a powerhouse of seismic research at a global scale. What Professor Michele Calvi, Director of the EUCENTRE, Dr Pinho and the rest of the team are building here is quite extraordinary. We are delighted that their energy and influence is now a part of the WRN and that it can be applied to challenges seismic risk assessment for the international insurance industry.”

    Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 300 offices in some 100 countries, with a global team of approximately 16,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.

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