Willis HRH Announces New Executive Appointments

January 21, 2009

Willis HRH, the North American unit of Willis Group Holdings, announced a series of senior leadership appointments that the company says will drive growth and innovation in key areas of its retail brokerage business.

With the merger of Willis and Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH) last year to create an expanded business in North America, the company said four senior executives would be assuming new positions:

Tom Coughlin, CPCU, ARM, has been promoted to national partner for Willis HRH, and will assume responsibility for captives, enterprise and risk finance, claims and risk control, pooling, programs and the private client segment. Coughlin, who joined the Willis New York operations in 1989, was formerly director of marketing for Willis North America. Prior to this role, he spent many years in the Willis Risk Solutions business practice where he rose to the position of CEO. His varied background spans a variety of disciplines in the insurance industry, including that of risk manager for a major pharmaceutical company, and as an underwriting manager responsible for designing global risk financing programs for major corporations.

Tom Ealy has been named national partner in charge of the commercial segment for Willis HRH, a business serving small and medium enterprises that represents more than 75 percent of Willis HRH’s combined clientele in North America. The centerpiece of the company’s business model to serve this segment is the 40 commercial business units the company acquired with HRH. These units will be linked through the technology platform Willis acquired with InsuranceNoodle in 2007, and will draw upon the placement centers of property/casualty, executive risks, professional liability, international, and surety that Willis created for small and medium enterprises after acquiring InsuranceNoodle.

Ealy’s additional responsibilities will be to oversee the continued growth of the independent agency network serviced by the InsuranceNoodle unit, along with Noodle Specialty Brokers’ binding authority and MGA businesses. Ealy was formerly executive vice president of Willis North America’s commercial and consumer segments and before that, chief operating officer of Willis North America. Earlier, he developed Willis’ Client Advocate professional development program, and prior to that led the company’s Chicago and Milwaukee offices.

Leslie Nylund, CPCU, who formerly led Willis’ New York Metro Region, has been appointed chief placement officer and national partner for Willis HRH, in charge of the company’s North America, London and Bermuda carrier relationships and placement strategy development. Nylund succeeds Tom Coughlin in this role. Nylund’s 27-year career spans the insurance and reinsurance brokerage sides of the industry. She was a managing director at Marsh, where her responsibilities over an 18-year career included overseeing several specialty practices. She also developed and led the operations for Global Broking Multi-lines. In addition, while at the reinsurance arm of this broker, she was responsible for MGA program business, developing the environmental treaty operation, and led the US property and casualty facultative reinsurance operations. Prior to that, she was a senior production underwriter at Continental Insurance Co. and was a production underwriter for AIG in the large lines casualty/captive group.

Succeeding Nylund as head of Willis’ New York Metro Region is Todd Jones, who also will oversee the company’s retail brokerage businesses in New Jersey, southern Connecticut, upstate New York (Buffalo), eastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Delaware. Prior to being named a national partner in 2006, Jones spent three years as the North American practice leader for Willis’ executive risks business. His earlier career included 10 years with Aon’s Financial Services Group, where he served in various capacities, including being responsible for the group’s Northeast region. He began his career as a financial analyst and corporate banker for First Union National Bank, focusing on the telecommunications and health care industries.

Willis HRH is the North American retail brokerage business of Willis Group Holdings. The unit has more than 200 local offices across the United States and Canada, offering a full range of insurance and risk management services, specialist expertise and global resources to large corporate, middle-market and small business clients.

Source: Willis Group Holdings Limited,

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