Willis Towers Watson PLC (WLTW) is one of the largest multinational insurance advisory and brokerage firms in the world. The 2016 merger of Willis Group Holdings PLC and Towers Watson & Company, valued at $18 billion, helped boost the company's position in the global marketplace. As of Sept. 23, 2021, the company's market capitalization was about $30.3 billion.

The London-based firm offers professional consulting, support, and outsourcing services in the areas of insurance and reinsurance, pensions and retirement planning, health care insurance, technology, and risk management.

WLTW stock hit a high for 2019 at $202 in mid-December after it announced it was buying PE Corporate Services, a South African advisory services firm. In July 2021, the stock price was at $224.15, down from a high of $261 in May.

The company faces competition in the professional services industry from the likes of rivals Marsh & McLennan Companies, Aon PLC, and Arthur J. Gallagher & Company.

Key Takeaways

  • Willis Towers Watson is a global company that offers a range of professional consulting and support services related to insurance, pensions, and retirement planning.
  • The company became one of the world's largest multinational insurance advisory and brokerage firms after the merger of Willis Group Holdings and Towers Watson & Company in 2016.
  • It offers professional services in various areas, such as insurance, pensions, and risk management.
  • Its main competitors include Marsh & McLennan, Aon, and Gallagher.
  • Although its market cap falls below those of its competitors, Willis Towers Watson leads in terms of EPS for the trailing 12 month period.

How the Competitors Stack Up

There are many ways we can compare Willis Towers Watson with its competition. One of the metrics we can use is market cap. Remember, this is the total dollar market value of a company's outstanding stock shares. It is calculated by multiplying a company's total number of outstanding shares by the current market price of a single share.

Here's how Willis Towers Watson and its rivals rank in terms of market cap:

  • Marsh & McLennan (MMC): $79.58 billion
  • Aon (AON): $67.32 billion
  • Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG): $31.3 billion
  • Willis Towers Watson: $30.3 billion

However, Willis Towers Watson was on top in terms of earnings per share (EPS) for the trailing 12 months (TTM) in July 2021 at $11.65, compared to $4.91 for Marsh & McLennan, $9.16 for AON, and $4.56 for Arthur J. Gallagher.

These figures are current as of Sept. 23, 2021.

Willis Towers Watson was founded in 1828 and is based in London.

Marsh & McLennan Companies

Marsh & McLennan's roots date back to 1871 when co-founder Henry Marsh dropped out of Harvard to pursue his fortune as an insurance broker in Chicago, where the Great Fire wiped out much of the competition. In 1901, his company merged with that of Donald McLennan, who shared his enthusiasm for selling insurance products to the nation's railroad companies.

The company now operates in two major business segments: risk management, and insurance services.

MMC stock closed at $157.08 on Sept. 22, 2021. Its shares were up more than 35% from a year before, compared to 32.6% for the S&P 500 Index. It had a dividend yield of 1.36%.

Aon PLC

London-based Aon PLC was created by the 1982 merger of Ryan Insurance Group and the Combined Insurance Co. of America. Its global presence grew through acquisitions in Holland and Spain, among other countries.

Aon's recent acquisitions include CoverWallet, an electronic insurance platform for small- and mid-sized businesses, which it purchased in January 2020.

London-based Aon closed at $299.08 on Sept. 22, 2021. That's an increase of 49.6% in a year. It had a dividend yield of 0.68%.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Company

Arthur J. Gallagher & Company, also known simply as Gallagher, was founded in 1927 as a Chicago insurance company and is headquartered in Itasca, Illinois.

The company grew through acquisitions, including nearly 400 made between 2010 and 2018. It now operates three business segments, including insurance brokerage, risk management, and professional services.

AJG closed the day at $151.39 on Sept. 22, 2021. That's a 45% increase in one year. The company had a dividend yield of 1.26%.