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WTW reports slight uptick in revenue in Q4


Willis Towers Watson PLC on Thursday reported fourth-quarter revenue of $2.72 billion – up 1% overall and 5% on an organic basis, from the final quarter of 2021 – amid foreign exchange headwinds.

Net income for the quarter totaled $593 million, down 75% from $2.41 billion in the year-earlier period, WTW said in its earnings statement.

For the full-year 2022, WTW reported revenue of $8.87 billion, down 1% overall but up 4% on an organic basis, while net income fell by 76% to $1.02 billion.

The year-earlier fourth quarter and full-year net income reflected gains in connection with the sale of its Willis Re reinsurance business and included the $1 billion termination fee WTW received from Aon due to its failed acquisition bid, according to the earnings statement.

The fourth quarter was “a solid finish to a great year,” CEO Carl Hess said on an earnings call with analysts. “We are stronger, more resilient and better positioned than we were a year ago,” Mr. Hess said.

WTW hired over 9,700 staff last year. “Our investments have translated into revenue growth in 2022 and we expect this to continue throughout 2023,” Mr. Hess said.

Voluntary attrition remained in line with macro-trends and WTW finished the year with 46,600 staff around the world, “an increase that has restored our headcount to 2019 levels, despite the divestitures made since that time,” Mr. Hess said.

The brokerage expects to deliver mid-single-digit organic revenue growth in 2023.

Willis’ risk and broking segment, which includes businesses previously aligned under its corporate risk and broking segment and the insurance, consulting and technology business, reported fourth-quarter revenue of $952 million, down 2% from the prior-year period, and up 5% on an organic revenue basis.

Corporate risk and broking generated organic revenue growth across all geographies, driven primarily by high single-digit organic revenue growth in its global business lines, notably construction and aerospace. Its organic revenue growth was pressured by headwinds from book-of-business settlement revenue in the prior-year period, however.

WTW’s health, wealth and career segment, which includes businesses previously aligned under the human capital and benefits segment, benefits delivery and administration and the investment business, reported fourth-quarter revenue of $1.72 billion, up 2% overall and 5% on an organic basis.

WTW realized $49 million of incremental annualized savings related to its transformation program in the quarter, bringing the total to $149 million in cumulative savings since the program’s inception, Mr. Hess said.

The current complex economic environment supports further growth, he said. Clients are facing many uncertainties, including inflation, rising interest rates, softer GDP growth, a tight labor market, ESG risk and potential recession, Mr. Hess said.

Many policyholders continue to navigate sustained rising commercial insurance rates and across various lines insurers are pushing for premium increases, which causes even greater challenges as they try to manage complex risks, he said.