It's a rough world out there; luckily for you, there are plenty of insurers to help you get back on your feet when the world throws you for a loop. One company in particular won't just insure you -- it could also help your portfolio profit: Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC).

M&M: Not just a great candy
Marsh & McLennan is the second largest insurance broker in the world. The company has two main segments" Risk and Insurance Services, and Consulting. The R&I division is the largest division at the company, consisting of Marsh, the insurance brokerage, and Guy Carpenter, the reinsurance division. This past quarter the R&I division brought in $1.7 billion in revenue, a 5% increase and 56% of the company's Q2 revenue. The division also saw operating income grow 14% year over year.

Meanwhile, the consulting division did nearly as well. In Q2 the segment increased revenue to $1.3 billion, a 4% increase year over year. Operating income also rose drastically, increasing 14% to $176 million, the highest quarterly consulting earnings ever.

All of this great performance from its divisions created an excellent quarter for Marsh & McLennan. The company increased revenue 3% to $3 billion, with operating income rising 11%. This translated to income of $339 million and an adjusted EPS of $0.61 (up from $0.50 year over year).

A lot of this financial strength is due to overall growth seen at M&M, which Marsh Inc. CEO Peter Zaffino attributes to strong client retention, rollover from new business (which has grown 10% year over year), and fewer economic headwinds than in 2011. If these trends continue, M&M will continue to have an excellent year.

M&M: Not just a great rapper
Perhaps most impressive is M&M's performance overseas; the company's international operations saw its Latin America segment increase revenue 14%, while the Asia-Pacific region rose 10%, and the Europe/Middle East/Asia sector grew 5%. The company has seen strong growth abroad in all segments of its business, perhaps thanks in part to business growth in emerging markets.

As great as this emerging-market growth may be, though, investors should be aware that a lot of Marsh & McLennan's revenue comes from Europe. The company makes about $12 billion in annual revenue, and one-third of that comes from the Old World. That's a lot of exposure for a company that reinsures businesses in a part of the world as volatile as Europe is now. 

On the other hand, Marsh & McLennan looks reasonable compared with its peers:



Dividend Yield

Payout Ratio

Net Profit Margin

Debt to Equity

Marsh & McLennan 18.4 2.7% 48% 9% 47%
Aon (NYSE: AON) 18.0 1.2% 21% 9% 53%
Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH) 15.0 3% 45% 13% 92%
Industry Average 21.4 2.3% 43% 7% 50%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

It doesn't yield quite as high a dividend as Willis Group Holdings, but M & M's debt-to-equity ratio is drastically healthier. The company has a reasonable valuation, and with earnings as strong as this quarter's, Marsh & McLennan looks like an intriguing stock.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.