Over the past three years, publicly held companies in the insurance industry have become painfully familiar with the stringent requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) corporate governance law.A senior-level executive with Chicago-based global brokerage firm Aon Inc., confirmed that the company's audit fees skyrocketed 53%, from $10 million in 2003 to $15.3 million in 2004. And, with annual revenue of $800 million and income of approximately $73 million, RLI Corp., a Peoria, Ill.-based specialty insurer, absorbed Section 404 compliance costs last year of $1.9 million.

"This included a 37% increase in audit fees," says Aaron Jacoby, vice president of RLI corporate development.

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