Willis India to Appeal Insurance Regulators’ Decision on License

September 9, 2010

Willis Group Holdings announced today that it will appeal a decision by India’s Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA) that it is “not inclined to accept” the license renewal application of the broker’s joint venture in India, Willis India Insurance Brokers Pvt. Limited, in which Willis holds a 26 percent stake.

The IRDA order, dated September 1, 2010 and posted on its website here, reviewed the reasons behind the IRDA’s decision, but added that Willis India can appeal.

“Willis India is taking all steps necessary and is moving forward expeditiously to appeal to the IRDA and is seeking their support and guidance to ensure business continuity,” the bulletin continued. “Until such time as an appeal is heard, Willis India will continue to put the best interests of its clients and employees first.”

Willis added that it is “extremely concerned about the IRDA findings against its joint venture partner, Bhaichand Amoluk Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd., which holds a 74 percent stake in Willis India. Willis announced today that it is in the process of terminating its current relationship with Bhaichand Amoluk as a result of a series of management differences.

“Willis is taking decisive action to find the best solution to seamlessly transition its Indian business and staff to a new joint venture with an established and highly respected organization in India.”

Willis India, the Group’s retail broking operation, employs over 100 people in nine offices across the country. In addition, Willis Processing Services, the company’s global operations centre in Mumbai and a separate business entity to Willis India, has grown to 1,300 employees since its establishment 18 years ago.

Andrew Hicks, Managing Director of Willis India, added: “Willis has been in India for nearly two decades and in that time has established a reputation for excellence, integrity and transparency. We are therefore appealing the IRDA’s decision that it is disinclined to renew the license of Willis India, and are working with them to ensure the well-being of our clients and staff in the process.”

He also noted that Willis is in advanced contractual discussions with a new joint venture partner and that Willis looks forward to a speedy and successful conclusion of these negotiations. He added that the broker will work closely with the IRDA to obtain all necessary approvals and to facilitate an orderly transition of its business, clients and employees to this new entity.

“Willis remains entirely committed to India, Hicks continued, “one of the most significant and fastest-growing insurance markets in the world, and to protecting the interests of our clients, policyholders and staff who support our global brand in a country with a growing population of more than 1.1 billion people.”

Source: Willis Group Holdings