Chicago —Aon Corp. and Benfield Group Ltd. have signed an agreement under which Aon will acquire the London-based reinsurance intermediary for $1.75 billion.

Following the close of the transaction, which, pending regulatory approval, is expected by the end of 2008, Aon intends to integrate the Benfield business with its existing reinsurance operations (Aon Re Global) and operate the division globally under the newly created Aon Benfield Re brand. The companies say that their reinsurance operations are highly complementary.

“Over the past several years, we have made significant progress in strengthening Aon’s operational platform and global network, becoming a more client-focused organization with a broader portfolio of innovative products and services,” says Greg Case, president and CEO of Aon Corp. “With Aon Benfield Re, we will build on this progress to further enhance organic growth, expand margins and drive shareholder value.”

According to the companies, the transaction will add significantly to Benfield’s capabilities in:

    * Developing markets around the world that both firms have targeted for growth, including Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America

    * Global analytics, modeling and client-facing technology, which have enabled Benfield to differentiate itself in the marketplace

    * The U.S. Florida and South East property-catastrophe markets, where Benfield’s ReMetrics capability, together with its long-standing market experience, deliver to clients an attractive risk analysis proposition

    * Key major accounts:  On a pro forma basis, Aon Benfield Re will serve the majority of insurance and reinsurance carriers globally. Aon expects the new and expanded client relationships afforded by the combination to support continued growth

    * Cost savings and operational efficiencies:  The transaction is expected to generate approximately $122 million in annual cost savings once fully phased-in in 2011, primarily from shared administrative and support services across both Aon Re Global and Benfield

Source: Aon Corp.

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