Aon to Handle Panama Canal Expansion Project Coverage

Chicago-based Aon Corp. is set to become the insurance broker and risk management consultant for the Panama Canal Authority, as it undertakes a $5 billion makeover of the 90-year old waterway, recently approved by Panamanian voters.

“The overhaul of the 50-mile long canal is scheduled to begin next year and projected to double the canal’s capacity by adding a third set of locks that are 40 percent longer and 60 percent wider than the ones currently in use, ” the Company’s announcement indicated. “The makeover is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

“Over the past century, cargo ships have nearly tripled in size, making many of these vessels too large to navigate the canal’s locks. These ships must then sail completely around South America to reach the Pacific Ocean. Expanding the canal will save the shipping industry considerable time and transportation costs, while generating significant revenues for Panama.”

“The Panama Canal Authority has involved Aon in the planning process for this expansion,” noted Paul Bitner, Managing Director of Aon’s Global Large Corporation segment in Latin America. “We were asked to help assess the risks that could put the completion of the project in jeopardy. Our relationship with the Panama Canal Authority has evolved from placement of insurance to a trusted partner and strategic risk adviser.”