Willis Group Reaffirms Call for Ending Contingent Agreements with Insurance Carriers
Company Only Major Broker to Take A Stand Against Contingents
Tells N.Y. Regulators Playing Field Should Be Made Level For All Brokers
New York, NY, July 25, 2008- Don Bailey, CEO of Willis North America, a subsidiary
of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today told members
of the New York Superintendent of Insurance and Attorney General's panel that the
insurance industry has failed on its own to reform the practice of contingent commission
payments to brokers and said regulators must finish the job begun by former Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer in 2004.
Among the major insurance brokers to testify at hearings today in Manhattan, Willis was
the only one to take a stand against the practice of insurance companies paying
contingent commissions to brokers.
"The practice of contingent commission payments is fundamentally at odds with the best
interest of clients," Mr. Bailey said. "We continue to believe strongly that former Attorney
General Spitzer missed a great opportunity to do the right thing by banning all brokers
from accepting contingents. For whatever reason, he left the job unfinished. The result
is the largest brokers now work within new boundaries, but the rest of the industry does
not work within the same boundaries.
"If we are truly serious about raising standards in our industry, a formal ban of contingent
compensation agreements is the right thing to do," Mr. Bailey continued. "We can live
with regulation and the higher cost of compliance - even if it makes us work harder to
drive more profitability for our business. But we believe we have a right to expect that
this regulation be uniform across the industry."
Mr. Bailey's testimony today was the second time he has addressed a public hearing in
New York State this month as officials consider a proposed regulation on the subject of
insurance producer compensation standards and disclosure. On July 14, Mr. Bailey
testified in Buffalo, N.Y.
In October 2004, Willis became the first insurance broker to voluntarily commit to ending
the practice of accepting contingent commissions. As part of that initiative, Willis
established a Client Bill of Rights - a 10-point document emphasizing the Company's
commitment to client service, transparency and best practices.
Over the last several years, Willis executives have been outspoken public advocates of
applying a consistent standard for compensation practices and transparency in
disclosure in order to strengthen client confidence and faith in the insurance industry.
About Willis Group Holdings
Willis Group Holdings Limited (NYSE: WSH) 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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Editor's Note: A copy of the full text of Mr. Bailey's testimony can be found at: http://www.willis.com/documents/Media_Room/Press_Releases/2008/