St. Louis (Aug. 24, 2004) -- In response to booming growth in the firm's insurance practice, Brown Smith Wallace, based here, has expanded into the Chicago market.

“We have seen our insurance practice grow nearly 300 percent in the past two years and we’re actively recruiting professionals to serve this developing niche,” said Larry Pevnick, member-in-charge of the firm's insurance audit group.

That growth is being driven by Sarbanes-Oxley and increased attention from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Pevnick noted that the regulatory audit requirements in the insurance and reinsurance industry are becoming more stringent, requiring additional audits and resources on each engagement.

The firm has hired Evan Bennett, who previously worked as an independent consultant, as its Chicago-based insurance practice manager. The firm has also hired Carol Stricker, an independent consultant, to join the Chicago office.

BSW managing member Jeffrey Smith said that the Chicago team will serve the firms’ insurance and reinsurance clients in the upper Midwest, which include current clients ING, Standard Security Life and Madison National Insurance.

“We believe the Chicago market has great potential for growth and expansion and this illustrates the Brown Smith Wallace commitment and dedication to the insurance industry,” Smith said.

The Chicago office is BSW's third. In addition to its St. Louis headquarters, the firm has an office in St. Charles. BSW reported fiscal 2003 revenue of $11.5 million.

-- Melissa Klein Aguilar

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