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    Willis Chief Says PIAA Companies Are Ready to Face New Challenges

    Scottsdale, Arizona, May 12, 2011 – The Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA) members are in a strong position to respond to challenges they face as a result of ongoing legislative and structural changes in U.S. healthcare delivery, said Joe Plumeri, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group (NYSE: WSH), today. Speaking at the 2011 PIAA Medical Liability Conference here, the chief of the global insurance broker encouraged the organizations to adapt and find ways to follow their clients’ migration to larger medical entities.

    In his keynote speech entitled, “Against the Odds: PIAA and the Changing Face of Medicine”, which can be accessed here, Plumeri said that more than 60 percent of physicians in the U.S. buy their medical professional liability (MPL) insurance from members of the PIAA, a national association of healthcare provider-owned and/or operated MPL insurance companies.

    However, Plumeri said that the consolidation trend in the healthcare system, which has seen hospitals buying physician practices and physicians grouping together, is threatening the existence of independent medical practices in the U.S., the PIAA carriers’ traditional client base. “Recent studies have indicated that three years ago, 70 percent of clinics and practices were doctor-owned, today, 50 percent are owned by corporate entities,” said Plumeri.

    Plumeri highlighted a number of challenges that the PIAA companies had successfully overcome in the past, including the medical liability insurance crisis of the 1970s, the second MPL crisis in the 1980s and the sudden withdrawal from the market by St. Paul, the most dominant writer of U.S. physician MPL, in 2001.

    “No one expected the PIAA companies to recover from these setbacks,” said Plumeri, “but this is exactly what they did, and MPL – with the PIAA being the main segment of that market – has now outperformed the overall Property & Casualty industry for the last six years. The PIAA companies now represent 55 percent of overall U.S. MPL premiums.”

    Comparing the PIAA companies’ “moment of truth” to similar watershed events on Wall Street, in the insurance industry and in Major League Baseball, Plumeri told more than 500 PIAA members in the audience that, “In each previous crisis you’ve faced, your market share and influence have grown, and the profitability of the industry has improved. You have risen to every challenge so far – and continued to grow in relevance and in prominence.

    “The PIAA companies today are faced with a choice: You can accept a diminished role or you could apply the tremendous courage, knowledge and commitment that have characterized this very special movement, and figure out how you’re going to follow your traditional client base into this new arena,” Plumeri concluded. “There is every reason to believe the PIAA and its members will succeed and will achieve this transformation.”

    Click here to read Joe Plumeri’s full speech.

    Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers 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 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.

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