Aon Corp. has agreed to buy human resources consulting firm Hewitt Associates for $4.9 billion in cash and stock in a move to expand its offerings to global employers navigating the complexities of healthcare reform and employee financial benefits.
Chicago-based Aon, an insurance brokerage and consulting giant, will play a large role in uninsured individuals' and small employers' ability to buy health insurance once federal government subsidies are available in the next four years. Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Hewitt's business focuses on advising Fortune 500 companies on benefits and outsourcing.
The healthcare overhaul passed by Congress and signed into law four months ago by President Obama will bring 32 million uninsured Americans medical coverage. That will mean private insurance companies will gain millions of new customers, and small employers who have not provided health benefits will gain the ability to add employee health coverage.
"Aon will be the global leader in risk and human capital solutions," Greg Case, chief executive of Aon, said during a conference call with analysts and investors Monday. "This makes us a leader in human capital solutions."