Willis Puts Clients Before Contingents in a New Internet-Based Campaign to Combat Apathy and Increase Education About
the Controversial and Conflict-prone Payments
Broker Launches ClientsBeforeContingents.com, Backed by Online Advertising, at RIMS Conference to Give
Insurance Buyers a Voice in the Debate Over Compensation
BOSTON, April 26, 2010 — “Clients Before Contingents” is the banner for a multichannel public awareness campaign
launched today by Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE:WSH), the global insurance broker, to educate insurance buyers
about the conflicts of interest inherent in contingent commissions. Willis Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri debuted
the campaign at the 2010 Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Conference in Boston, where he
urged risk managers to use their wallets to send a strong signal against the controversial payments.
The campaign is anchored by a new web site, ClientsBeforeContingents.com, and promoted through online advertising and digital
communications that offer compelling online video and tools for buyers of insurance to take action.
Willis initiated the campaign after recent agreements with regulators paved the way for the big global brokers
to resume taking contingent commissions, a conflict-prone practice still used broadly by thousands of agents and
brokers to generate extra end-of-year profits. Contingent commissions are bonuses that insurance carriers pay to retail
agents and brokers based on the volume and profitability of the business they give to carriers.
Willis voluntarily stopped accepting them in its retail business in 2004 before they were banned for
the big brokers in 2005.
Speaking to a press conference from the Willis booth at RIMS, Mr. Plumeri explained why the broker
has been a long-standing critic of contingent commissions. “Willis put its stake in the ground in
2004 and declared contingents a conflict of interest and not in the buyer’s best interest. We
stopped taking them in our retail business and are a better company for it. Buyers of
insurance should ask their brokers to follow suit. It’s time for the level playing field to
be free of these controversial payments. A broker should be squarely on your side, fighting to
get you the best terms and conditions, the fairest premium and fastest claim service, not putting
profit before principle.”
Grahame Millwater, President of Willis Group, said, “In placing risk and servicing policies in a retail insurance
brokerage, you can't have two masters. But that's what happens when brokers are beholden to insurance
companies for big bonuses dependent on growth and profitability. Instead of fighting for lower premiums and
faster claims service for their clients, contingents may make a broker think twice.”
Don Bailey, Chairman and CEO, Willis North America, added, “Insurance buyers have been fed misinformation over the
years about contingents and it’s time to set the record straight. Clients Before Contingents states clearly
where our principles lie and is aimed at empowering insurance buyers with knowledge and information. Unless
your broker tells you, upfront, who is paying them, how much they are being paid and
in what form they are receiving payment, you're not getting the whole story.”
Centered on an interactive web site, ClientsBeforeContingents.com, the Willis campaign is designed for risk managers, but also
offers information for C-suite leaders and other industry players and stakeholders. The campaign employs social media,
online advertising and print media to raise awareness about the conflicts posed by contingent commissions. The
features currently available on ClientsBeforeContingents.com include:
- An embeddable, sharable online video featuring Joe Plumeri and Don Bailey explaining Willis’ stand on trust,
transparency and contingent commissions.
- An up-to-date newsroom with press articles and news releases on the
controversy surrounding the proposed return of contingent commissions.
- A third-party White Paper from Edwards Angell
Palmer & Dodge LLP that outlines the history of contingent commissions and their inherent conflicts.
A toolkit to educate insurance buyers about the mechanics of contingent commissions and the questions they
should be asking their brokers.
- An interactive blog to encourage debate from all sides about
the issues raised by contingent commissions and broker compensation in general.
- A page where buyers
of insurance can put their own stake in the ground and declare their objection to contingent
commissions in retail brokerage.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.ClientsBeforeContingents.com
Willis Group Holdings 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 17,000 Associates serving clients in virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis
may be found at www.willis.com.
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