Aon Acquires Benchmarking Firm Ward Financial

Aon Corp. has acquired Westfield Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, the Ward Financial Group, from Ohio Farmers Insurance Co.

Aon said that Ward will be integrated with Aon’s McLagan Partners, its own consulting and benchmarking firm for the financial services industry.

Ward provides benchmarking and best practices research studies for insurance companies in North America. The firm analyzes staff levels, business practices and expenses for all areas of insurance company operations to help companies measure results. It is known for its Ward’s 50, for which it identifies the top-performing insurers in various industry segments.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jeff Rieder, current president of Ward, will continue to lead the group, reporting to Michael Burke, president of McLagan Partners.

Burke said Ward has developed a strong brand in the insurance sector throughout North America and Aon intends to leverage McLagan’s platform in Europe, the Middle East and Asia to better serve the global insurance industry.

The company said Ward’s employees will transition to McLagan and remain in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ward’s current headquarters.