Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

What a year it turned out to be for the insurance industry. It started with a continuation of higher premiums and was helped along by several natural disasters then topped off by Sept. 11.

The terrorist attacks, the cost of which is still being computed, put to rest any doubt that property and casualty premiums were headed way up. In some cases, businesses saw premiums more than double.

All this meant higher revenues for brokerages as commission fees climbed. Locally, the top 15 brokerages saw their Los Angeles County revenues hit $570.5 million in 2001, a 12.8 percent increase over the previous year's $505.6 million.

Of the top brokerages, only two had their revenues decline.

Bolton & Co. and Financial Independence Co. were the revenue decliners, which caused a drop in their rankings.

Laurence Darmiento

The Pacesetter


Aon Corp., the world's second largest insurance brokerage, last year put its name atop what had been the 62-story First Interstate Bank Building after deciding to make Los Angeles a key hub and taking over 10 floors of the landmark downtown skyscraper.

Chicago-based Aon now employs 1,123 people locally, up from 850 before consolidating its regional back office operations in L.A. More importantly, it's the center of Aon's operations in the entertainment, technology, construction and health care sectors.

Aon's local revenues last year reached $151.2 million, up 7.4 percent over 2000's $140.8 million. That also outpaced the company-wide growth rate of 4.3 percent.

Still, it was a bittersweet year for Aon, which had 1,200 workers in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. A total of 173 lost their lives.

"It was devastating. It was traumatic for the organization," said Peter Arkley, managing principal in Los Angeles. "Our people there certainly felt the effects for months. But we have come back."

The firm has opened a new office in New York, where its financial services group is headquartered. The group, which has a large L.A. presence, brokers mergers and acquisitions, corporate officers' liability and related coverage.

Arkley said financial services is expected to be a big driver locally, along with the entertainment and other industry groups headquartered in Los Angeles.

Laurence Darmiento

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