Mar 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

Insurance broker Aon to buy rival Willis Towers Watson for nearly $30 billion

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Aon agreed to buy rival insurance broker Willis Towers Watson for nearly $30 billion in stock.

Why it matters: It's the largest merger so far in 2020, and the insurance sector's largest-ever merger. The combined company would become the world's most valuable broker, topping current market leader Marsh & McLennan.

  • Aon first approached Ireland-based Willis about a merger last spring, but those talks fizzled and Irish regulations prevented the two sides from striking a new deal until this month.

The bottom line: "Insurance brokerages help companies buy insurance and advise companies on risk management, but are consolidating at a rapid rate following years of sluggish commercial-insurance pricing growth, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeper: Health insurers are eating higher medical costs

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Health insurers aren't that worried about coronavirus

A coronavirus testing tent outside a hospital in Massachusetts. Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Health insurance companies are not concerned yet that the new coronavirus is going to drive up their medical claims and spending.

The big picture: More people will need expensive hospitalizations to treat COVID-19, which has turned into a full-blown public health emergency. But insurers view the outbreak as an "extension of the flu season," according to a Wall Street bank that spoke with insurance executives last week.

Go deeperArrowMar 16, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus is exposing the holes in employer health insurance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment in one week, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but people didn't just lose their jobs. Many also lost the health insurance that came with the job.

Why it matters: U.S. workers, even those who feel relatively secure in their health benefits, are a pandemic away from falling into the ranks of the uninsured.

Go deeperArrowMar 30, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus raises health care affordability concerns in the U.S.

A health care worker prepares to transport a patient into an ambulance in Kirkland, Washington, on Feb. 29. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

The threat of the coronavirus is already exposing the holes in the U.S. health care system, particularly for low-income people and those without health insurance.

Why it matters: If affordability concerns keep people from receiving the care they need, or from staying home in order to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, we've got an even bigger problem.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - Health