Alistair Lester of Aon, on protecting & enhancing returns in a risky world

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Alistair Lester is CEO of Aon’s M&A and transaction services business in EMEA.

But this is unlike any conversation about insurance you’ve ever had or heard (probably).

Aon has spent recent years acquiring expertise across the range of disciplines to provide services that both protect and enhance returns, in a risky world.

For the podcast (audio version) click here.

Some highlights:

On IP:

“We’ve pioneered the ability to wrap insurance around your intangible assets or intellectual property. You can potentially use those instruments as collateral, which enable you then to access different forms of financing.”

On deal risks:

We think those three approaches, of price-chipping contractual recourse, and deferred consideration, are all perfectly valid, but none of them are actually optimal ways of dealing with risk in a transaction.

We are able to deliver these structured insurance instruments across a wide range of areas, including structured credit and tax and litigation, et cetera, whereby spending a pound, a dollar or a Euro on that instrument you are realizing or recognizing multiples of that either in the enterprise value or somewhere in the capital structure of the transaction.

On recruiting talent:

“Over the past 5 to 10 years Aon has added inorganically, areas of talent and capability, whether it’s in cyber, intellectual property, the talent world, we’ve added businesses and people who have bought different skillsets to our firm. Many of whom have had zero exposure to the insurance industry before. These individuals give us perspectives on different emerging risks.

“We have the former head of intellectual property at Phillips in the Netherlands global head of IP at Phillips. We have the former general accountants of general counsel for patents from Microsoft. People who honestly, if you asked them a few years ago, would not have imagined they would work for Aon.”

On cyber:

“We know what is happening in the cyber risk world, because cyber insurers are paying claims for our clients. So we know what’s creating those claims and how much is being paid for those claims, and how those claims are being managed, and how the risks can be mitigated to avoid them happening.”

On ligitation finance:

“Litigation financing has been around a long time. It’s absolutely got a place. It provides a very essential service. But we are introducing new ideas, which potentially are alternatives to that, arguably again at a lower cost of capital.”

and much more!