Willis HRH Appoints New Leaders In Key Areas

New York, NY (CompNewsNetwork) – Willis HRH, the North American unit of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today announced a series of senior leadership appointments to drive growth and innovation in key areas of its retail brokerage business.

"Our ability to create new products, enhance the service experience we deliver to clients, win new business, retain clients and expand our relationships with them, and gain better terms from carriers are all instrumental to our continued success, particularly in today's challenging rate environment," said Don Bailey, Chairman and CEO of Willis HRH. "The appointments we are announcing today will strengthen our organization and enhance our ability to deliver on all these fronts – for the benefit of our clients and our company."

With Willis and Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH), formerly the eighth-largest insurance intermediary in the U.S., having joined forces last year to create an expanded business in North America, the company said four senior executives would be assuming new positions:

Tom Coughlin, CPCU, ARM, has been promoted to National Partner for Willis HRH, and will assume responsibility for Captives, Enterprise & Risk Finance, Claims & Risk Control, Pooling, Programs and the Private Client segment. Coughlin, who joined the Willis New York operations in 1989, was formerly Director of Marketing for Willis North America. Prior to this role, he spent many years in the Willis Risk Solutions business practice where he rose to the position of CEO. His varied background spans a variety of disciplines in the insurance industry, including that of risk manager for a major pharmaceutical company, and as an underwriting manager responsible for designing global risk financing programs for major corporations.

Tom Ealy has been named National Partner in charge of the Commercial Segment for Willis HRH, a business serving small and medium enterprises that represents more than 75% of Willis HRH's combined clientele in North America. The centerpiece of the company's business model to serve this segment – one that Willis had targeted for accelerated growth before the merger – is the 40 Commercial Business Units the company acquired with HRH. These units will be linked through the technology platform Willis acquired with InsuranceNoodle® in 2007, and will draw upon the placement centers of excellence in property/casualty, executive risks, professional liability, international, and surety that Willis created for small and medium enterprises after acquiring InsuranceNoodle®. Ealy's additional responsibilities will be to oversee the continued growth of the independent agency network serviced by the InsuranceNoodle® unit, along with Noodle Specialty Brokers' binding authority and MGA businesses. Ealy was formerly Executive Vice President of Willis North America's Commercial and Consumer Segments and before that, Chief Operating Officer of Willis North America. Earlier, he developed Willis' Client Advocate® professional development program, and prior to that led the company's Chicago and Milwaukee offices.

Leslie Nylund, CPCU, who formerly led Willis' New York Metro Region, has been appointed Chief Placement Officer and National Partner for Willis HRH, in charge of the company's North America, London and Bermuda carrier relationships and placement strategy development. Nylund succeeds Tom Coughlin in this role. Nylund's 27-year career spans the insurance and reinsurance brokerage sides of the industry. She was a managing director at Marsh, where her responsibilities over an 18-year career included overseeing several specialty practices. She also developed and led the operations for Global Broking Multi-lines. In addition, while at the reinsurance arm of this broker, she was responsible for MGA program business, developing the environmental treaty operation, and led the US property and casualty facultative reinsurance operations. Prior to that, she was a senior production underwriter at Continental Insurance Co. and was a production underwriter for AIG in the large lines casualty/captive group.

Succeeding Nylund as head of Willis' New York Metro Region is Todd Jones, who also will oversee the company's retail brokerage businesses in New Jersey, southern Connecticut, upstate New York (Buffalo), eastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Delaware. Prior to being named a National Partner in 2006, Jones spent three years as the North American Practice Leader for Willis' Executive Risks business. His earlier career included 10 years with Aon's Financial Services Group, where he served in various capacities, including being responsible for the Group's Northeast region. He began his career as a Financial Analyst and Corporate Banker for First Union National Bank, focusing on the telecommunications and healthcare industries.

"Today's environment demands that we have the absolute best people in our most critical frontline roles to drive strategy and execution and inspire Willis HRH people to deliver even more exceptional service and value to our clients," said Bailey. "Tom Coughlin, Tom Ealy, Leslie Nylund and Todd Jones are exceptional leaders with tremendous industry experience and in-depth knowledge of client needs and the overall marketplace. I congratulate them on their new and expanded roles as part of the best team in the industry. I have no doubt they are the right people to help take Willis HRH to the next level in terms of growth, value and performance."

Willis HRH is the North American retail brokerage business of Willis Group Holdings. The unit has more than 200 local offices across the United States and Canada, offering a full range of insurance and risk management services, specialist expertise and global resources to large corporate, middle-market and small business clients.

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.

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