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Chicago-based Aon Corp. is in building mode, acquiring both talent and specific businesses over the past year to enhance its capabilities, its chief executive officer says.
"We're at the end of the beginning in terms of what stands before Aon in opportunity," said Gregory C. Case, president and CEO.
One of the most significant restructurings in the past year at Aon was the formation of Aon Global in January, a business unit the unifies the company's global resources under one service platform. Aon Global comprises the former Global Large Corporate division, the Captives Services Group, the International Risk Management Group, Risk Consulting, Risk Engineering and other units.
Dennis Mahoney, chairman and CEO of Aon Ltd., has been tapped as chairman of Aon Global and is relocating to Bermuda. Steve McGill, CEO of Aon Risk Services Americas, will assume the additional role of CEO of Aon Global. Peter Harmer, who headed Aon's Australia/New Zealand operations, succeeds Mr. Mahoney as CEO of Aon Ltd.
"We've linked our network more closely, in the spirit of delivering Aon's global capabilities in a local way," said Mr. Case.
Among other senior executive changes, Aon announced this year that Chief Financial Officer David Bolger will be leaving once his successor is named.
While Aon's 2006 brokerage revenues of $6.71 billion make it the second-largest brokerage in the world, Mr. Case said that "Size is not a focal point for us; it's about quality and capability" in serving clients. Aon's 2005 brokerage revenues were $6.49 billion.
Risk and insurance services account for about 63% of Aon Corp.'s gross revenues, with the remainder provided by consulting and underwriting operations. Aon's gross revenues grew 5.4% in 2006, to $8.95 billion from a restated $8.50 billion in 2005. The company's 2006 net income fell slightly, to $720 million from $735 million a year earlier. Aon restated 2005 gross revenue to reflect discontinued operations. In November 2006, the company sold two of its underwriting business, Aon Warranty Group and the Construction Program Group, for $800 million.
Significant acquisitions in 2006 and this year include: Valley Oak Systems, a risk management information system vendor, which Aon has merged with its Risk Laboratories L.L.C. unit; Breitstone & Co., a specialty environmental risk management firm; and Footman James, a U.K.-based affinity brokerage.
A highlight in April was the 20th anniversary of Aon trading as a single company under the Gaelic word meaning "oneness." To celebrate that event this year, Aon colleagues around the world volunteered on more than 200 community service projects in 60 countries.