The deal is expected to reduce competition for large, multi-national companies, which depend on brokers with a high level of expertise and global presence
The European Commission has announced an in-depth investigation to assess Aon’s proposed acquisition of Willis Towers Watson (WTW), under its Merger Regulation.
The European Commission has shown concerns that the proposed transaction could significantly reduce competition in the markets that they operate in.
Aon and WTW offer commercial risk brokerage services, re-insurance brokerage and provide health & welfare services to commercial customers.
EC’s initial market investigation identified several concerns related to the supply of commercial brokerage services especially to large multi-national customers, who depend on brokers with a high level of expertise and a global presence.
According to the Commission, the transaction could reduce competition with regards to brokerage services to large multi-national customers in the risk classes property & casualty, financial and professional services, credit and political risk, cyber and marine.
Also, competition reduction could arise for customers in space and aerospace manufacturing risks along with few additional risk classes in specific national markets.
The EC considers that Aon and WTW are two of the very few brokers who can provide such services on a multi-national scale.
Simultaneously, the Commission will further examine markets where the two companies provide reinsurance brokerage services, which include mediating risks between insurance and reinsurance companies.
The EC is concerned that the deal will combine two of the three leading reinsurance brokers, thereby reducing the choice of insurance companies placing their risks with reinsurance companies.
The deal could also affect the provision of consulting and administration services to companies on retirement, health and welfare schemes offered to their employees.
The European Commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager said: “Aon and Willis Towers Watson are two leading companies in the market for insurance and reinsurance brokerage. They help companies with their risk management and with finding the right insurers for their needs.
“We have opened an in-depth investigation to assess carefully whether the transaction could lead to negative effects for competition, less choice and higher prices for European customers in the commercial risk brokerage market.”
The European Commission expects to complete the in-depth investigation with 90 working days and plans to take the decision until 10 May 2021.