National insurance broker Willis consolidates Miami hub
By Scott Blake
One of the nation's largest insurance brokers has moved its South Florida office to Brickell Avenue.
New York-based Willis Group Holdings has moved to 19,000 square feet on the 16th floor at 1450 Brickell Ave.
In moving to the new location, Willis Group combined its previous offices at 201 Alhambra Circle in Coral Gables and 1401 Brickell Ave., said Linda Elizondo, the company's operations manager in Miami.
"This building is Class A," Ms. Elizondo said Tuesday, following a Monday evening reception at the new office to celebrate the move. "The location is fabulous. Our competition is down the street. Our clients are nearby. The views are great and there's room for expansion."
Willis Group had occupied an 8,000-square-foot site in Coral Gables, in addition to another Brickell Avenue location that handled its reinsurance business, Ms. Elizondo said.
The new office houses a staff of 75 people, about the same number that had occupied the two separate offices, she added.
In a statement, Willis Group said the move is part of its strategy to elevate its presence in Florida. The company signed a 10-year lease with Rilea Group for the new location.
The new office will be the South Florida headquarters for Willis' retail insurance brokerage operations, a business that serves more than 3,000 clients. That includes placing employee benefit programs for some of the area's largest firms, and arranging "some of the most complex property insurance programs in the marketplace," the company said.
In addition, the new Brickell office will function as home to Willis Re Latin America and Willis SCR (Special Contingency Risks). The company operates satellite offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
The company is expecting the South Florida market to present opportunities for growth.
Citing recent data from the Washington Economics Group, the company said Miami-Dade County is leading Florida's economic recovery.
Certain segments of the area's economy — tourism, international trade, healthcare services and private education — are growing. Also, economies of South Florida's foreign trading partners, in Latin American and Asia, have been growing, the company noted.
"We are thrilled to be expanding our footprint in South Florida," Willis Group Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri said in a statement.
"This flagship location will enable us to seamlessly deliver Willis' powerful global resources to local clients from one location," Mr. Plumeri said about 1450 Brickell Ave.
"As Miami-area businesses grow with the global economy and confront an increasingly complex risk and liability landscape, there is strong demand for a global insurance broker to meet their insurance and risk management needs."
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