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Exclusive: senior insurance broker discusses challenges and trends within the industry

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We recently obtained an exclusive interview with Marco D’Ovidio, a senior client manager at Aon who works within the Professional Services Group. His clients are mainly Solicitors (Sole Practitioners to top 100 firms) and he specialises in arranging Professional Indemnity, Excess Layer covers, Partner Protect, D&O & Management Liability and Office Insurance.

Marco D'Ovidio - Associate Director at Aon Risk Solutions

Marco D’Ovidio – Associate Director at Aon Risk Solutions

How would you describe your role and the service you offer to your clients?

As an experienced, specialist Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) broker, I arrange insurance programmes for law firms of all sizes throughout South Wales, South West, Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire & Berkshire.

In my role, I support clients on obtaining and reviewing their insurance requirements across multiple classes including Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII), Office and Directors and Officers (D&O) liability insurance. In addition to assisting them on technical matters and how their policies impact on their firms, I work with them to present submissions to insurers in the best and most accurate manner. I also negotiate on the client’s behalf with insurers to obtain best terms and broadest coverage.

My aim is always to provide the best service possible for clients, utilising Aon’s size and longevity in this market place to access exclusive quotations.

I also work in conjunction with various local Law Societies providing seminars, support and information to members on all of the above.

I am able to offer quotations for Professional indemnity, Office Insurance, Management Liability, Cyber, Crime, Mortgage Impairment, Motor and Title / Missing Beneficiary Insurance.

How is 2015 different from 2014 in the insurance space for your sector?

In 2014, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) issued a consultation paper on reducing the minimum level of cover required by legal firms from £2 million to £500,000.  The thinking behind this move was increasing capacity of insurers who may want to insure legal firms and potentially reducing premiums with existing underwriters.  In the end, the SRA decided against the move; however, with the issue up in the air during the summer period, this caused insurers to monitor the situation, resulting in a knock-on effect with terms and premiums coming out later than we had hoped for.

The model for the solicitors market has also shifted in the last few years. We no longer have to contend with a single renewal date (which used to be the 30th of September). Now, firms can choose their renewal date away from the end of September.

What are the most common cases you have to deal with?

The majority of the legal firms I look after sit in the 1-10 partner sector, some with over 11 partners.   The most common cases would be the traditional high street firms who offer most legal services to the general public.  I also look after firms who offer boutique or niche legal services.

What are the most common concerns clients have with an insurance broker and how do you solve these?

The most common concerns are around the quality of service and timeliness in dealing with queries presented to insurance brokers.

Clients in the legal sector expect their broker to be knowledgeable within the space that they operate.  When they call with a question or to report a claim or possible claim, they need the reassurance that it will be dealt with in a professional and efficient manner.   

Smaller firms with an aging partnership often discuss the run-off cover issue with me as they turn their attention to the future.  We often give practical guidance on how they look at either mergers or running off the practice.

What differences do you come across between new clients and long standing clients? Is the relationship the same? Is it different, and how so?

Longstanding clients are more likely to have experience of the high quality service and support we provide and have more investment into the relationship. This is at the forefront of their mind when considering their position.

For new clients, they have to take an educated guess on the future service they expect to receive; however the more dealings we have with a prospect and the longer we have been in discussion with them, the more comfortable they are with us.

I am lucky enough to have seen many firms either by visiting them in their offices, standing up to speak at local law society conferences or attending the annual local law society dinners, so even firms who may not deal with Aon at the moment at least know who I am.

I never take anything for granted so the relationship with either new or existing clients is the same, in that we aim to provide the same service to both.

I also enjoy talking about similar interests with long-standing clients (parenting and motorsport are recurring topics).

Do you have client hot spots geographically and what do you think causes this?

The areas I cover are not regarded as “hot spots.” Solicitors PI insurance is similar to most other insurance because geographic areas can influence premiums. For example, if you live in an area prone to flooding, home insurance premiums can be dictated.  Firms who operate in inner city areas may be more at risk of fraud, and we have seen firms in those regions becoming the target for this. I have also been warning clients in those regions that they could be targeted by individuals who are subject to economic sanctions. They may use a firm based in rural areas as they could fail to check the list of individuals and organisations provided by HM Treasury.

How has technology changed the way you operate in your work over the last 5 years?

When I first started with Solicitors PII in 2007, all of the proposal forms had to be completed by hand as there was no “online” version.  Now clients have the choice of both, with the ability to log in and complete the form online, via the Aon websiteIf a prospect has provided their proposal form previously to Aon, then a pre-populated proposal forms can be produced, using data from the previous year’s form, which saves time for our clients and prospects.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role and your industry?

Unfortunately, due to the lack of differentiation between services and covers in the market, often the main perceived differentiator is price. This has undue amount of significance and transactionalises the whole procedure.

Winning new business will always be challenging, especially against other established brokers who offer the same policy cover (Solicitors Minimum Terms & Conditions). We do this by demonstrating our experience and support to firms on a wide range of issues, both risk and business-related.

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Trump Comments on Stock Market’s latest drop – says it’s ‘peanuts’

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trump comments peanuts on stock market

Trump says Tuesday’s market drop is ‘peanuts’

President Donald Trump played down the stock market’s losses on Tuesday as “peanuts” when compared with the importance of striking a good deal with China and the gains since his election.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average “was about 16,000 or 15,000 and now it’s almost at 30,000,” Trump said at the NATO summit in London. “It’s going to be at 30,000.”

“If the stock market goes up or down — I don’t watch the stock market. I watch jobs. Jobs are what I watch,” he added. Today’s move is “peanuts compared to — we have picked up record numbers so that’s OK. That’s the way I feel.”

The major stock indexes slid Tuesday after Trump said he thinks it would be a good idea to delay signing a trade deal with China after the 2020 presidential election. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 450 points at its lows on Tuesday, led lower by trade-vulnerable AppleCaterpillar and 3M.

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now, and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right,” Trump told reporters before U.S. markets opened Tuesday. When asked if he had a deal deadline, he added: “I have no deadline, no. … In some ways, I think it is better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth.”

Despite his assurances that he doesn’t watch the market’s daily moves, Trump often tweets within hours of when the U.S. equity market reaches an all-time high. He has tweeted the keyword “stock market” 107 times since his inauguration

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11 kids quotes we’re all feeling

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kids quotes laughing kids

Ok so there’s always that time when you just wish so bad you could straight up say whats on your mind, but you know you really shouldn’t, so you don’t. Well leave it up to kids to say exactly what you’re feeling, no hesitation or regret. Check out these kids quotes that say everything you wish you could!

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THIS IS A WHOLE (FOOD) MOOD.

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More good reads

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Saturday savagery (submitted anonymously) #savage

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Why do kids say the darndest things? Comment with your favorite!

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How to become a better businessman in 6 steps; Priceless advice from Entrepreneurs

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Become a better businessman in 6 steps following this priceless advice from accomplished entrepreneurs.

  1. “Do something you’re very passionate about, and don’t try to chase what is the hot passion of the day.”

    Jeff Bezos accentuates having passion for what you are doing, because if you don’t love it you are much more likely to give up. It’s hard to take an idea and turn it into reality, especially by yourself or when people whom you respect tell you it can’t be done. The passion and love you give to your project will determine it’s success rate over time.

    Jeff Bezos Become a better businessman

  2. “Don’t let people who you may respect and who you believe know what they are talking about tell you that it can’t be done.”

    Pierre Omidyar continues to say that often they will tell you it can’t be done and that’s only because they don’t have the courage to try it.

    Pierre Omidyar become a better businessman

  3. “If you know exactly who you want to be, you need to spend as much time [as possible] with people that are actually that already.”


    This advice from Gary Vaynerchuk is actually priceless when it comes to success in the business world. Think as well “It’s not what you know but who you know,” and surround yourself with people you look up to. Human’s adapt to their surroundings quickly, and soon you won’t just want to be an entrepreneur, you will also know how to act like one.

    Gary Vaynerchuk

  4. “Come up with 10 new ideas every day.”


    Coming up with at least 10 new ideas every day will keep your “idea muscle” in shape, which is critical for an entrepreneur in order to keep going and stay ahead of the fast paced business world. James Altucher continues to say that once you’ve done this for about 6 months you will be an idea machine. New ideas keep passionate projects alive and ensure growth in every direction.

    Read Next: Working for yourself; Pros and Cons

    James Altucher become a better businessman

  5. Realize that, “naturally, nobody is interested in your ideas. You have to persuade them, and you have to show them that you are the one person out there that can do it.”



    Robert Greene, an American author known for his books on strategy, also says that “no one is really going to help you or give you direction.” Realizing this sooner than others will give you a head start and the ability to stop looking for recognition in others. Instead, you can focus on your passion project and make it perfect, and the world will not be able to ignore it.


    Robert Greene


    More about ‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene

  6. “Don’t think about ‘how do I get big fast.’ That will happen if you build something meaningful and important.”




    How to encourage teamwork in your organisation


    Danae Ringelmann’s advice is not something to skip. If you rush your ideas or your product you will be relying on luck more than anything to create success for you. While luck is certainly involved in alot of things, relying on it or betting on it to ‘get big fast’ doesn’t help you become a better businessman. Being proud of what you create, instilling passion into your work, and working hard will ensure success more than anything.


    danae ringelmann

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