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Categorized | Insurance

Willis Towers Watson executive to get $21m pay-off

Posted on November 22, 2016

A top executive at Willis Towers Watson is to receive a pay-off of up to $21m when he leaves the insurance broker and consultant at the end of the year, according to documents analysed by the Financial Times.

The payment to Dominic Casserley, the deputy chief executive, comes at the end of a year when shares in Willis Towers Watson have sharply underperformed those of its two main rivals.

The company said last month that Mr Casserley, who headed insurance broker Willis before it merged with Towers Watson at the start of this year, would leave when his contract expires at the end of 2016.

According to company filings, non-renewal of Mr Casserley’s contract will trigger a cash payment of about $8m and share-based awards worth about $13m. He will also qualify for about $200,000 of other benefits.

“In my experience this is a generous payment for the insurance sector,” said Jo Keddie, a partner specialising in employment at London law firm Winckworth Sherwood.

Willis Towers Watson declined to comment on Mr Casserley’s pay.

Caroline Doran Millett, an employment partner at law firm Royds Withy King, said that the documents showed that Mr Casserley was due to receive the payments but criticised the language used by the company as “unhelpful and opaque”.

Willis Towers Watson was formed out of the $17bn merger of Willis, an insurance broker, and Towers Watson, a pensions and healthcare adviser.

Mr Casserley was chief executive of Willis and stayed on with the title of president and deputy chief executive. He received a salary of $1m per year as well as bonuses. When his departure was announced, Willis Towers Watson chairman Jim McCann said that Mr Casserley, who co-led the integration process, was “crucial to the design, negotiation and success of the Willis Towers Watson merger”.

“On behalf of both the legacy Willis board and the current Willis Towers Watson board, I want to thank Dominic for his many contributions, which will benefit the company and all its stakeholders for years to come,” he said.

Shares in Willis Towers Watson, which is based in London but listed in New York, have fallen by just under 4 per cent since the merger was completed. Shares in rivals Aon and Marsh & McLennan have both risen more than 20 per cent in the same period.

The company reported a net loss of $32m for the three months to the end of September against a pro-forma profit of $117m in the same period a year ago although an amortisation charge was responsible for much of the change.