A strong client focus, an emphasis on teamwork, unwavering integrity, mutual respect and a constant striving for excellence are the values at the core of WTW’s rich history. Many of our clients have been with us from our earliest days. Whether they first came to us for brokerage services or actuarial work, they were met with respect, a strong sense of advocacy and an emphasis on excellence. These values will continue to define our approach to business and our relationship with our clients, now and in the future.
In 1841, Henry Willis applied for membership of Lloyd’s, where he started to broker insurance for the cargoes of commodities he sold on commission.
In 1865, New Yorker David Parks Fackler founded one of the first actuarial firms in North America.
Manchester Unity was R. Watson & Sons’ first client in 1878. This friendly society (an organization that provides health and burial benefits to its members) continues as a client today.
The arithmeter was a cylindrical slide rule used by actuaries in the late 19th century for life insurance calculations.
In 1889, David Parks Fackler helped create the Actuarial Society of America, a predecessor of today’s Society of Actuaries. The society’s first banquet was held in the Astor House at Broadway and Barclay Street in New York.
By 1912, Willis had a huge marine account and was broker for the ill-fated Titanic. The hull claim of $1 million was settled in full within 30 days.
Willis grew in prestige through mergers with other Lloyd’s speciality brokers: first, Faber Brothers and subsequently, Dumas & Wylie to form Willis, Faber & Dumas in 1929
Our early pension clients included Eastman Kodak Company and Cadbury. Major post-war clients included Imperial Tobacco and Shell Oil.
In 1953, we were among the first actuarial consulting companies to make use of computers. Today, actuarial and financial modeling software play a major role in our work.
Post-war, Willis’ non-marine and reinsurance businesses grew. In 1971, Willis was broker for the moon buggy.
In 1976, a new Willis headquarters — 10 Trinity Square — was purchased, and the company became publicly traded for the first time.
The 21st century poses new threats, and WTW helps clients remain resilient as they face them.