Citing complimentary goals for the future of employee benefits, brokerage and consulting giant Aon Hewitt intends to acquire benefits enrollment and communications firm Univers.

“We are very excited about the opportunities our new partnership with Aon will deliver to our clients, our distribution partners and our people,” Greg Morano, CEO of Univers says. “Aon’s proven commitment to systems and talent development aligns perfectly with our continued desire to innovate great enrollment and employee engagement solutions for our marketplace.”

Will Sneden, U.S. health and benefits practice leader for Aon Health, says the partnership is a result of increasing need for “elective benefits,” also known as voluntary benefits, employers seek to impart to their employees’ physical, financial, emotional and social wellbeing.

End-to-end solution

“Aon has deep experience, powerful analytic tools and strong carrier relationships to help companies create easy-to-deploy elective benefits programs,” Sneden says. “Acquiring Univers complements these capabilities and enables us to offer an end-to-end elective benefits solution that provides an integrated, holistic and high-touch enrollment experience.”

Agency reinvention and growth expert Nelson Griswold explains that the maturing market has led to a more sophisticated and professional industry with a need for more enhanced benefits.

“For years one of the dominant players in the benefits enrollment space, Univers itself is an example of how the enhanced benefits market is maturing,” Griswold, an EBA columnist, says. “Many in the industry mark 2008, when enrollment firm Custom Benefit Programs (CBP) sold to national brokerage USI and was rebranded Univers, as the advent of the first truly national enrollment firm.”

The agreement is still subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act.

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