Another insurance name that hiked its dividend payouts last week is AON (AON), a $16 billion insurance broker that also has a risk management and human resources consulting business. Yesterday, AON announced a 5% dividend increase, bringing its quarterly payout to 15.75 cents per share. That marks the first dividend increase in a decade for AON shareholders and brings the firm's yield to 1.2%.
AON has made leaps and bounds in the last ten years, recovering from accounting issues back in 2002 and stabilizing its business just in time to get hammered by the financial crisis and ensuing recession. While AON hasn't enjoyed the fruits of its labors due to unfavorable market conditions, the London-based firm is a remarkably different company from what it was in the 2000s.Financially, AON does have fairly aggressive balance sheet leverage, the result of an acquisition that effectively doubled the firm's scale back in 2010. While the firm's debt load doesn't preclude it from profitable performance in 2012, that and a relatively low yield keep it from achieving core income status. Between the two, Travelers offers much cleaner exposure to insurance-driven income. AON shows up on a list of JPMorgan's 24 Stocks That Are More Attractive Than Apple.