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Willis Group Announces Agreement With Miller to Form a Leading London Wholesale Specialist Insurance Broking Firm

LONDON, Jan. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Group Holdings (NYSE:WSH), the global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Miller Insurance Services LLP to form a leading London-based wholesale specialist insurance broking firm.

The agreement will combine the firms' respective wholesale businesses to trade under the Miller brand, managed, governed and regulated as a standalone legal entity and separate Lloyd's broker.

Under the terms of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, Willis will become a corporate member in Miller Insurance Services LLP by taking a majority (85%) interest in the partnership. Partners of Miller will retain the remaining interest so that it can be transferred to new generations of Miller partners in perpetuity.

The transaction combines those businesses of Willis and Miller that are complementary, and selected broking activities will transfer between the two firms. Wholesale broking activities encompassing a series of units will transfer from Willis to Miller and Miller treaty reinsurance, UK Corporate client and Financial Institutions retail teams will transfer to Willis.

Dominic Casserley, CEO of Willis Group, commented:

"This transaction combines the exceptional talent and capabilities of Willis and Miller, creating a platform for significant future growth. Bringing together complementary businesses under our respective brands adds further strength and depth to our client propositions.

"Miller, a pre-eminent specialist independent broker in the London wholesale market, is highly regarded by clients and insurance carriers alike, with a culture and professional approach that aligns closely with Willis' own values-based client service and heritage. The deal also brings additional expertise and enhanced value to Willis' combined UK retail and global specialty business and its treaty reinsurance team."

Graham Clarke, CEO of Miller, said:

"This agreement will accelerate our growth strategy and enhance our offering to our clients. It is a unique opportunity to combine the strengths of two firms for whom client service is paramount. Miller's independent platform and partnership will continue to operate under the Miller brand with the same ethos and continuity of leadership, complemented by Willis' international experience, scale and industry and product knowledge."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 18,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world's leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

About Miller Insurance Services LLP

Miller Insurance Services LLP (Miller) is a specialist insurance and reinsurance broker, operating internationally and at Lloyd's. It handles reinsurance, complex large commercial insurance business and programmes & facilities.

Founded in 1902, the partnership today has over 580 people and eight international offices in the world's key insurance markets. Miller holds Chartered Insurance Broker status, demonstrating professionalism, a client focused approach and commitment to excellent service standards.

For more information, please visit www.miller-insurance.com.

Willis Group - Forward Looking Statements

Willis Group have included in this document 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created by those laws. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our operations. All statements, other than statements of historical facts that address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate may occur in the future, including such things as our outlook, future capital expenditures, growth in commissions and fees, business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, the benefits of new initiatives, growth of our business and operations, plans and references to future successes, are forward-looking statements. Also, when we use the words such as 'anticipate', 'believe', 'estimate', 'expect', 'intend', 'plan', 'probably', or similar expressions, we are making forward-looking statements.

There are important uncertainties, events and factors that could cause our actual results or performance to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements contained in this document, including the following: the ability to consummate the proposed transaction; the ability to obtain requisite regulatory and other approval and the satisfaction of other conditions to the consummation of the proposed transaction; the impact of any regional, national or global political, economic, business, competitive, market, environmental or regulatory conditions on our global business operations; the impact of current global economic conditions on our results of operations and financial condition, including as a result of those associated with the Eurozone, any insolvencies of or other difficulties experienced by our clients, insurance companies or financial institutions; our ability to implement and fully realize anticipated benefits of our new growth strategy and revenue generating initiatives; our ability to implement and realize anticipated benefits of any expense reduction initiative, including our ability to achieve expected savings from the multi-year operational improvement program as a result of unexpected costs or delays and demand on managerial, operational and administrative resources and/or macroeconomic factors affecting the program; changes in the tax or accounting treatment of our operations and fluctuations in our tax rate; volatility or declines in insurance markets and premiums on which our commissions are based, but which we do not control; our ability to develop and implement technology solutions and invest in innovative product offerings in an efficient and effective manner; our ability to continue to manage our significant indebtedness; our ability to compete in our industry; our ability to develop new products and services; material changes in commercial property and casualty markets generally or the availability of insurance products or changes in premiums resulting from a catastrophic event, such as a hurricane; our ability to retain key employees and clients and attract new business; the timing or ability to carry out share repurchases and redemptions; the timing or ability to carry out refinancing or take other steps to manage our capital and the limitations in our long-term debt agreements that may restrict our ability to take these actions; fluctuations in our earnings as a result of potential changes to our valuation allowance(s) on our deferred tax assets; any fluctuations in exchange and interest rates that could affect expenses and revenue; the potential costs and difficulties in complying with a wide variety of foreign laws and regulations and any related changes, given the global scope of our operations; rating agency actions, including a downgrade to our credit rating, that could inhibit our ability to borrow funds or the pricing thereof and in certain circumstances cause us to offer to buy back some of our debt; a significant decline in the value of investments that fund our pension plans or changes in our pension plan liabilities or funding obligations; our ability to achieve anticipated benefits of any acquisition or other transactions in which we may engage, including any revenue growth or operational efficiencies; our ability to effectively integrate any acquisition into our business; our inability to exercise full management control over our associates, such as Gras Savoye; our ability to receive dividends or other distributions in needed amounts from our subsidiaries; any potential impact from the US healthcare reform legislation; our involvement in and the results of any regulatory investigations, legal proceedings and other contingencies; underwriting, advisory or reputational risks associated with non-core operations as well as the potential significant impact our non-core operations (including the Willis Capital Markets & Advisory operations) can have on our financial results; our exposure to potential liabilities arising from errors and omissions and other potential claims against us; the interruption or loss of our information processing systems, data security breaches or failure to maintain secure information systems; and impairment of the goodwill in one of our reporting units, in which case we may be required to record significant charges to earnings.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive and new factors may emerge from time to time that could also affect actual performance and results. For more information see the section entitled ''Risk Factors'' included in Willis' Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 and our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies are available online at http://www.sec.gov or www.willis.com.

Although we believe that the assumptions underlying our forward-looking statements are reasonable, any of these assumptions, and therefore also the forward-looking statements based on these assumptions, could themselves prove to be inaccurate. In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in the forward-looking statements included in this document, our inclusion of this information is not a representation or guarantee by us that our objectives and plans will be achieved.

Our forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made and we will not update these forward-looking statements unless the securities laws require us to do so. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this document may not occur, and we caution you against unduly relying on these forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: Media: Miles Russell + 44 20 3124 7446 Email: miles.russell@willis.com Investors: Peter Poillon +1 212 915 8084 Email: Peter.Poillon@willis.com

Source:Willis Group Holdings