Willis North America, a subsidiary of insurance broker Willis Group Holding, has started a distressed assets practice to advise clients on how they can manage the risks associated with distressed, foreclosed or abandoned properties.

The new unit will be headed by Brian Ruane, national real estate and hotel practice leader, who founded the group in 2005. It will bring together resources from Willis' real estate and hotel, construction, environmental, executive risks, financial services and mergers and acquisitions practices, and its loan protector unit.

The distressed assets practice coordinates capabilities from across Willis' practice areas to structure insurance programs that respond to a range of risk management and insurance issues related to distressed assets. Major areas of focus include property, liability and environmental insurance; forced-placed coverage; insurance for real estate-owned assets; professional liability insurance and construction insurance for incomplete projects.

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