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Gallagher profits improve in 2006


ITASCA, Ill.--Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. reported higher revenues and profits for 2006, the brokerage said Tuesday.

Revenues from its brokerage and risk management segments rose 7.3% for the year to $1.47 billion, while total revenues, which include the brokerage's financial services segment, rose 3.4% to $1.53 billion. Profits more than quadrupled for the year to $128.5 million.

In a statement, J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer, praised the Itasca, Ill.-based brokerage's performance in light of the turmoil that has been facing the insurance industry over the last two years.

"2005 and 2006 were the most difficult years in Gallagher's 79-year history," he said in the statement. "I am optimistic with so many distractions behind us, particularly the recent settlement of our portion of the class action litigation that is still facing the insurance industry."

In December 2006, Gallagher agreed to pay $37 million to end charges that it participated in an industrywide contingent commissions scheme. The allegations came as part of a federal multidistrict class action suit in a New Jersey district court (BI, Jan. 1).

Gallagher established provisions for this matter in 2005, the brokerage said, so substantially all the costs associated with the multidistrict litigation settlement have been previously reserved. The brokerage did record a $9 million pretax charge in the fourth quarter of 2006 to increase its reserves.