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Aon Establishes New Agri-Fuels Group to Manage Renewable Fuels Industry Risks
PRNewswire-FirstCall
CHICAGO

With all signs pointing to an explosion in the bio-fuels marketplace, Aon's Agribusiness and Food Systems Group has created a new unit to focus on the specialized risks associated with the bio-fuels industry.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20041215/CGW049LOGO )

Aon's new Agri-Fuels Risk Management Group (AFRMG), based in Kansas City, will be headed up by Senior Relationship Manager Brad Richter and business developer Keith Goodenough. Its aim: to meet the risk management and insurance requirements for the rapid expansion of the renewable fuels industry. AFRMG members have more than 15 years experience providing insurance and risk management services to the ethanol industry.

The bio-fuels debate is rapidly moving to the center of America's energy policy. The President's recent State of the Union message calls for a five- fold increase in the mandatory fuels standard, requiring 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017, displacing 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns plans to propose $1.6 billion in new funding for renewable energy.

One of the best known renewable energy sources -- and often at the center of the food vs. fuel debate -- is ethanol. Made from corn and other crops, when blended with unleaded gasoline ethanol becomes a high-octane fuel that proponents have argued for years is the nation's best option to reduce both fuel costs and the country's dependence upon foreign oil sources. Opponents worry that over-emphasizing ethanol could put undue stress on corn growers and their customers (e.g., poultry farmers) as well as food prices.

But bio-fuels can come from an assortment of agricultural sources. Developing, processing, supplying and protecting these new fuels and cultivating their sources present a wide range risk management challenges. Rick Shanks, national managing director of Aon's Agribusiness & Food System Group, says "This is new ground for many established corporations, and there are new companies entering the marketplace everyday," Shanks says. "Dozens of new ethanol plants are expected to come online this year alone. For the U.S., it's not whether bio-fuels will be produced, but how much and how fast."

About Aon

Aon Corporation ( http://www.aon.com/ ) (NYSE: AOC) is a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and management consulting, and specialty insurance underwriting. There are 45,000 employees working in Aon's 500 offices in more than 120 countries. Backed by broad resources, industry knowledge and technical expertise, Aon professionals help a wide range of clients develop effective risk management and workforce productivity solutions.

This press release contains certain statements related to future results, or states our intentions, beliefs and expectations or predictions for the future which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from either historical or anticipated results depending on a variety of factors. Potential factors that could impact results include: general economic conditions in different countries in which we do business around the world, changes in global equity and fixed income markets that could affect the return on invested assets, fluctuations in exchange and interest rates that could influence revenue and expense, rating agency actions that could affect our ability to borrow funds, funding of our various pension plans, changes in the competitive environment, our ability to implement restructuring initiatives and other initiatives intended to yield cost savings, our ability to execute the stock repurchase program, our ability to obtain regulatory or legislative changes to permit continuous sales of our supplemental Medicare health product, changes in commercial property and casualty markets and commercial premium rates that could impact revenues, changes in revenues and earnings due to the elimination of contingent commissions, other uncertainties surrounding a new compensation model, the impact of investigations brought by state attorneys general, state insurance regulators, federal prosecutors, and federal regulators, the impact of class actions and individual lawsuits including client class actions, securities class actions, derivative actions, and ERISA class actions, the cost of resolution of other contingent liabilities and loss contingencies, and the difference in ultimate paid claims in our underwriting companies from actuarial estimates. Further information concerning the Company and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect the Company's financial results, is contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  Media Contact:         Al Orendorff
                         Director, Public Relations
                         312-381-3153

First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact:

Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20041215/CGW049LOGO
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

SOURCE: Aon Corporation

CONTACT: Al Orendorff, Director, Public Relations of Aon,
+1-312-381-3153

Web site: http://www.aon.com/



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