Chicago-based insurer Aon Corporation has reported a 97% increase in net income from continuing operations to $144 million in the fourth quarter, driven by strong business in the US and Latin America.

Net income for the full year of $737 million increased 35% from the prior year, and earnings per share of $2.17 represented an increase of 33%. Full year 2005 net income from continuing operations increased to $642 million or $1.89 per share from $545 million or $1.63 per share in 2004.

Aon said a principal contributor to the year over year improvement was the impact of the provision for legal settlements in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Greg Case, Aon’s president and CEO, said: Our fourth quarter operating results show strong underlying margin improvement. Americas Brokerage, led by our US and Latin America Retail businesses, showed very solid organic growth, continuing a trend which emerged previously in 2005.

The company said that the three year restructuring plan is on target and is expected to incur cumulative pretax charges of $262 million. Annualized cost savings are now targeted at approximately $180 million by 2008.