US Judge Narrows Focus Of Aon-Willis Antitrust Suit

A federal judge has narrowed the scope of a US Department of Justice lawsuit blocking the proposed $30 billion merger of insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson, allowing the companies to finalize remedies for three of five issues raised by the antitrust regulator.

The impending trial on the remaining issues, set to start in November, will focus on whether large US businesses would face diminished competition when seeking two categories of insurance: property, casualty and financial risk coverage; and health-and-benefit coverage for employees, according to an order signed by US District Judge Reggie Walton on Tuesday.

Aon ranks second and Willis fifth among US commercial insurance brokers in the US market, according to a survey by Business Insurance magazine. The other largest brokers in the United States are Marsh & McLennan Companies, Arthur J Gallagher and Alliant Insurance Services Inc.

The narrowing of the DOJ’s case comes after Aon and Willis agreed to divestitures to win approval in the United States and Europe after discussions with regulators.

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