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Marsh to launch agency for smaller companies

Posted On: Oct. 24, 2008 12:00 AM CST

NEW YORK—While Marsh Inc. may be best known for serving the needs of the world's largest global companies, it now also wants to become known for serving the smallest.

The New York-based brokerage on Friday said that it will launch Marsh & McLennan Agency L.L.C. in the first quarter of 2009 to serve the needs of U.S.-based companies generating less than $75 million in revenue.

The formation of the agency, which will be independent of Marsh's brokerage operations, is in recognition that large and small companies expect distinctly different insurance buying experiences, said Jack Butcher, who was named president and chief executive officer of Marsh & McLennan Agency.

"If you think in terms of the class of customer that Marsh has built its reputation and brand with, they tend to be larger, global and more complex. They all have a complex risk profile because they tend to be public, transnational and have extra insurance risk issues that they need specialty consulting and expertise on."

Mr. Butcher said, for example, that when he was an insurance buyer for a small company before he joined Marsh in 2003, he didn't have a lot of need for a customized approach.

"I needed to purchase a competitive product that had been well-negotiated and I wanted to know that there was a local service representative whom I could call when I needed them. Otherwise, I just needed my insurance so I could operate and I wanted to be left alone. That's a very different demand than many of our clients in the global and national segments want from us," he said.

Many of the details of the new agency are still being ironed out, including the cities it will begin operations in, the insurers they will be working with and the number of Marsh employees that will be working for the agency, Mr. Butcher said. He noted, however, that Marsh does have an existing client base of smaller clients—what he referred to as "critical mass"—to launch the new platform.