Willis Group Holdings said it is taking its affinity or custom insurance business global, with expansion into markets including North America and the U.K.

The global risk advisor, insurance and reinsurance broker said it sees big growth possibilities with the custom line, particularly in the U.S., which Willis North America CEO Todd Jones said in a statement is “the largest affinity market in the world.”

Robert Tinoco Pinto, CEO of Willis Group’s Affinity arm, told Carrier Management via email that his division’s coverage approach is “about building and developing partnerships” in order to provide clients “bespoke” insurance products.

Affinity business hits on sectors including finance, retail, manufacturing, utilities, telecommunications, larger employers and businesses such as car dealerships. Willis said it sees the sector as a high-growth area, as its products reach clients through partnerships, plus distribution agreements with retailers, employers and other groups.

Examples of the coverage include a trade association that might offer tailored insurance products to its members, or a telecommunications operator providing mobile phone insurance, Willis said. Another affinity approach: custom insurance products for utility companies, which may need to differentiate themselves in deregulated markets and increase their markets. Willis said it works with “a leading utility company” in Colombia, for example, to offer personal health, accident cover and other insurance options “that are not otherwise easily accessible to most consumers.”

So why expand this globally?

“This has been a high-growth business in several countries around the world and a real success story for Willis,” Tinoco Pinto explained.

“Consolidating our markets, including the U.S., into a new global practice means we can really leverage the size and scale of Willis, as well as the Affinity IT and marketing systems,” he said. “We can unite and push our best practices aggressively and, since many of our clients are large multinationals, further define and coordinate our offer across many different countries.”

Willis already pursues affinity business in Western Europe, Latin America and China, the company said. Customer focus includes financial institutions and associations, as well as telecom and utility sectors.

Source: Willis Group Holdings

Topics Willis Towers Watson