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Aviation insurance brokers confirm probe by British regulator

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Several top insurance brokers issued statements Friday announcing that they are being investigated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority for sharing competitively sensitive information within the aviation and insurance sectors.

The FCA launched a number of coordinated dawn raids earlier this month on all four brokers, seizing computers and information, according to news reports. A spokesperson for the FCA declined to comment about the investigation.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C., UIB Group, Marsh Ltd., Aon P.L.C. and Willis Ltd., the U.K. brokerage subsidiary of Willis Towers Watson P.L.C., issued statements acknowledging the probe.

“On April 4, 2017,” the Willis statement said, “the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) informed Willis Limited, our U.K. brokerage subsidiary, that it has opened a formal investigation into possible agreements/concerted practices in the aviation broking sector, which represents less than $100 million of Willis Towers Watson's revenues. We are cooperating with the FCA. Given the status of the investigation, we are currently unable to assess the terms on which this investigation will be resolved.”

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom is conducting an investigation into suspected conduct within the aviation broking industry, which for Aon in 2016 represented less than $100M in global revenue,” Aon said in its statement, which was issued Thursday. “Aon is working diligently with the FCA in order to ensure it can carry out its work as efficiently as possible. We cannot comment on the details of this investigation as it is ongoing, other than to say Aon takes compliance and regulatory issues extremely seriously and has a strong and respectful relationship with the regulator.”

Marsh said in its statement that “in connection with a civil competition investigation that the Financial Conduct Authority is undertaking into the aviation insurance and reinsurance sector, the FCA recently conducted an on-site inspection at Marsh Limited’s office in London.”

“The FCA indicated that it had reasonable grounds for suspecting that Marsh Limited and others have been sharing competitively sensitive information within the aviation (re)insurance sector,” the statement continued. “Marsh is cooperating fully with the FCA’s ongoing investigation and is conducting its own review with the assistance of outside counsel.”

“Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C. notes recent press comment regarding an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into the aviation insurance sector,” the JLT statement said. “The Company is participating in this investigation and confirms that JLT Specialty is providing all appropriate assistance to the FCA. We are unable to comment on the ongoing investigation beyond saying that JLT takes all regulatory matters very seriously and has a constructive relationship with all the regulators that it works with across the JLT Group.”

UIB said in its statement that it "is totally committed to ensuring that we adhere to the strictest levels of integrity, honesty, professionalism and compliance to the rules and regulations laid down by the insurance markets regulatory bodies and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)."

"Our Compliance Officer is a member of the United Insurance Brokers Ltd. Executive Committee so as to ensure that compliance forms a cornerstone of our company," the statement said.