Willis North America Boosts Construction Practice with Key Appointments, Dedicated Resources
New York, September 22, 2011 – Willis North America, a unit of Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today announced two key appointments to strengthen its Construction practice and better serve the insurance brokerage needs of major accounts in this sector.
Paul Becker, who has led the Construction Practice since 2005 will assume the role of Chairman of the Construction Practice for Willis North America (WNA). Rick Hawkinberry, who has served as practice leader for WNA’s Environmental Practice since December 2010, has been appointed CEO of the Construction Practice.
The moves enable Willis North America to better align its talent and strengthen its position as the leading broker in the construction industry. Willis has a deep commitment to this industry in North America, with construction teams in over 40 offices and over 600 dedicated construction professionals across the platform, serving contractors, owners, construction professionals, and design firms.
In his role, Mr. Becker will work closely with a dedicated team to focus on Willis’ portfolio of major accounts. Willis has a substantial presence in this segment having as clients 20 percent of the top construction firms in the U.S. Willis’ unique network and organizational structure enables the broker to bring dedicated global resources and deep expertise to this segment. In addition, he will work closely with the insurance carrier community to develop innovative solutions for North American clients. Mr. Becker has worked with the National Construction Team at Willis since 1993 and is a key figure in the construction industry.
In his role as CEO of the practice, Mr. Hawkinberry will oversee the practice and be responsible for business development across North America. He will focus on strategic planning, operations, and aligning the Construction Practice’s resources with Willis’ retail offices across North America. Mr. Hawkinberry has over 15 years of experience in the environmental and construction insurance marketplace.
Following the global recession, large construction firms are confronting a vastly different operating environment and a new landscape of risks. The industry is experiencing
“Given these risks, the need for a broker partner with industry dedicated resources in all key risk areas is clear. Bringing Rick on board to enhance our management team will allow Willis to be well positioned to focus on these clients and respond to their needs, while being out front to anticipate emerging risks and lead the way with new solutions,” Mr. Becker said.
In addition to major accounts, Willis serves a wide range of construction related firms and has a deep commitment to the Middle Market sector, where Willis has over 10,000 clients, including Project Specific business with dedicated project teams.
The entire construction portfolio is supported by Willis’ broad-based safety and claims teams and other resources dedicated to this segment, including professional liability, surety and alternative risk financing experts.
Nashville-based Becker joined Willis in 1983. He is also a member of the AGC Risk and Surety Committee, Former National Director of the Construction Financial Management Association, and is a frequent speaker at industry events including IRMI, AGC, ABC, CFMA.
Prior to joining Willis, Mr. Hawkinberry held management roles with Shaw Group Inc.’s Environmental and Infrastructure Division, AIG Environmental, Kemper Environmental, and CIGNA/ACE USA. He is based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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.