Willis Signs Joint Venture in the Indian Market

LONDON, Feb. 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE:WSH), the global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker, has agreed to purchase a 49% stake in Almondz Insurance Brokers Private Limited.

Almondz is a leading Indian insurance broker with nearly 300 associates in nine offices in India serving clients with a broad range of products and services across diversified industries and segments.

The joint venture will combine Willis's global network and expertise with Almondz's skilled team and wealth of experience in India. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Almondz has a wholly owned subsidiary which is engaged in reinsurance broking services, so today's announcement means that, upon the closure of the transaction and the receipt of regulatory approvals, Willis will be able to offer both insurance and reinsurance services in the Indian market.

Willis acted swiftly on recent legislative changes in India that increased the Foreign Direct Investment cap in the insurance sector from 26% to 49%, which makes this investment and the planned future expansion of Almondz's existing operations even more compelling.

Adam Garrard, Regional CEO of Willis Asia, said: "We are delighted to partner with Almondz, with whom we have a solid relationship based on mutual trust and respect. We are excited about the prospect of continued growth and development in the Indian insurance sector.

"This joint venture will allow us to fully participate in this dynamic market, whilst enabling us to provide our global clients with the levels of service and expertise that they expect from Willis's operations around the world."

Rohit Jain, Managing Director of Almondz, said: "It is a great pleasure to announce the signing of definitive agreements for a joint venture with Willis, a company with a rich heritage in the insurance industry. It is a credit to all my fellow associates that such a world-renowned broker has decided to form this partnership with Almondz.

"I am confident that the combination of our Indian experience and footprint, coupled with Willis's deep risk and insurance expertise and global reach, will reap great benefits for our clients, our staff and the insurance sector in India."

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 Almondz

Almondz Insurance Brokers Private Limited is a leading IRDA licensed broker, present in the Indian insurance market since 2004. Currently present in 9 cities across India – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, the company has nearly 300 employees across these locations, and handles more than 500 corporate clients across all industries, including aviation, pharma, technology, and retail.

Along with its subsidiary Almondz Reinsurance Brokers Private Limited, which has a large reinsurance business portfolio, the company has grown by leaps and bounds over that last five years, to achieve a premier status in the insurance and reinsurance broking space in the country. You can read more on Almondz at www.almondzin.com.

CONTACT: Media: Paul Platt +44 20 3124 7659 Email: Paul.Platt@willis.com Investors: Peter Poillon +1 212 915 8084 Email: Peter.Poillon@willis.com

Source:Willis Group Holdings