The Top 25 employee benefits consulting firms in Los Angeles County saw modest employment gains in 2002. Of the companies supplying workforce numbers for 2002 and 2001, there was an average 6.4 percent increase in staff size. Mercer Human Resource Consulting, formerly William M. Mercer, retains its longstanding No. 1 ranking.

The Top Ten firms saw an average increase of 7.2 percent. Within that group, Louis Kravitz and Associates saw the greatest increase in benefits consulting employees at 20 percent with 54 employees currently and 45 in 2001.

Actuarial Consultants and Financial Independence Co. Insurance Services recorded cuts of 11.9 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively, in benefits consulting employees for the year.

Despite the success of its employee benefits department in 2001, Anderson, last year's No. 4, is no longer in existence due to the closure of its parent company, Arthur Anderson.

Nicole Taylor


Mercer Human Resource Consulting

Mercer Human Resource Consulting, formerly William M. Mercer LLC, is atop the list of largest employee benefits consultants in Los Angeles County for the sixth year in a row.

Mercer reported 158 benefits consulting employees in its L.A. office, an increase of 5.3 percent over the 2001 total of 150.

Glenn Meister, Mercer's L.A. office leader, said the firm has tried to weather the sluggish economy and lower revenue expectations by focusing on helping clients contain costs and improve efficiencies in its human resource operations.

"With health care costs spiraling out of control, we're trying to contain costs," he said. "We are redesigning the program to focus more on the consumer."

Founded in 1936 as the employee benefits department of professional services firm Marsh & McLennan, Mercer became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1975. The company grew through a series of acquisitions starting in the 1980s and continuing through its purchase of L.A.-based SCA Consulting in October 2001. Mercer officially changed its name in April to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Nicole Taylor

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