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    Willis Commercial Network to Work with Insurer Partners to Streamline Renewals Process

    London, UK, September 30, 2009 – Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, announced today that the Willis Commercial Network (WCN), its partnership with local independent brokers in the UK, will launch an initiative in conjunction with its insurer partners to eliminate inefficiencies in the joint renewal process.

    The initiative aims to eliminate or modify non-value add parts of network members and insurer partners processes. It will also focus on getting a joint agreement on timely and “right first time” renewal processes for the future, which will be delivered through efficient and effective internal procedures. This will save time and resource and will streamline the renewals process for both parties, but most importantly it will improve the service experience for clients.

    At the Willis Commercial Networks’ tenth anniversary conference in July, WCN members and representatives from Aviva, Allianz, Axa, Zurich and RSA took part in a Continuous Improvement Masterclass run by the Warwick Business School. At this workshop, inefficiencies in the renewals process – including what information is collected and how it is exchanged with insurers – were cited as one of the biggest stumbling blocks for brokers. The WCN members and insurers present resolved to work together on a project, spearheaded by the Willis Networks management team, to eliminate these inefficiencies.

    After taking part in the workshops at the conference, Janice Deakin, Corporate Sales Director, Aviva, commented, "I was taken aback by some of the inefficiencies in the current renewal process and was sure such processes could be streamlined even further with insurers’ input. I therefore gave a commitment that Aviva would actively engage in such an exercise with both the Willis Networks team and WCN members, as this will ultimately benefit all the parties to this partnership."

    The Continuous Improvement Project began a year ago when Willis introduced its network members to Japanese Kaizen principles and tools to help them improve their business processes. The principle of Kaizen is to bring together the constituent parts of a team and office to collectively review real-life performance issues, with the aim of improving processes and resolving the issues.

    The Kaizen principles were initially applied in pilot programmes at several WCN-member brokers, in which process inefficiencies were identified and improvements put in place with great success. In these pilots, it was discovered that there were various underlying types of “waste” in most of the businesses, including duplication of work, poor access to and storage of information, and the incorrect allocation of administrative tasks to senior employees. Each member conceded there were certain efficiencies that could be achieved if they were able to include their insurer partners within this review and improvement process.

    Willis Networks Managing Director, Mark Radburn said, “I am excited by the launch of this project, which we are hoping will have dramatic positive repercussions among our members and the clients they serve. It is vital that the network community works together to help each other thrive, particularly in these tumultuous times. Through this project our members and insurer partners will be able to do more with the resources they each have because they will have tackled the daily process frustrations which currently get in the way.”

    Following on from the success of the previous workshops, the Willis Networks management team is currently organising a one-day workshop in October to kick off the new renewals improvement project. Participants will be drawn from WCN’s insurer partners, network members and the Willis Networks operations team.

    Willis Networks was established in 1999 and is comprised of the Willis Commercial Network, representing brokers placing annual premiums of between £3 million to £25 million, and Willis N2, which represents community brokers with up to £3 million in annual premium.

    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 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 20,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.

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