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Martin Linaker, Independent Education Director, Oval Insurance Broking, reports on Oval’s dealings with ISBA, and market trends

Bursars benefit from Oval’s involvement

✥ Independent Education Today: Explain your relationship with ISBA. Martin Linaker: Oval Insurance Broking is one of the recognised specialist education insurance brokers that provide property, liability and motor insurance to the independent schools’ community. You will find us on their website www. Our relationship with ISBA is still at a very early stage, but it is our intention to develop a training and seminar package that will assist its members in their professional development and raise awareness of risk management and insurance.

✥ IET: What are the benefits of working with ISBA? ML: As the leading professional trade organisation for bursars of independent

fire and security profile considerably. We stand ready to advise and assist schools in reviewing their insurance requirements.

✥ IET: What future changes do you anticipate, both for the sector, and for your company? ML: In the sector, I anticipate that more brokers and insurers will be encouraged to enter the independent schools market as the income from academies diminishes due to the changes which the Education Funding Agency are due to make. This will be good for the schools; however, I believe that insurers will become more demanding in their risk requirements in order to cover major losses and low returns from investments and that schools will have to spend more on improving their fire and security


schools, ISBA gives us insight into the complexities and problems facing bursars. This allows us to anticipate their requirements and design solutions to meet their needs. Some insurers offer discounts for schools whose bursar has atended ISBA development courses.

✥ IET: How are things going for your company at the moment? ML: Because we are not tied to a specific insurer, we are able to select a panel of insurers to work with to provide the client with a range of options. This is a message that is being well received by schools and we are starting to receive several requests from schools, with whom we have previously had no contact, to tender for their insurance.

✥ IET: What are the key trends in your sector at the moment, and how are you adapting to changing market conditions? ML: More bursars with accountancy

or business background are entering the sector, which is good because they understand completely the need to gain best value for money from their suppliers. Schools are realising that, by not testing the market, they may be missing out on other options and not know if they are paying a fair market price. All schools are focusing more on the botom line, which is important, but I fear that some may be overlooking more fundamental issues of whether they have the appropriate cover in place and the service levels that they will receive. In addition, I see some schools forgoing risk management improvements, which for a comparatively small outlay would improve their assets’

arrangements as a mater of routine. As regards, our company, Oval was

purchased recently by an American broker, Arthur J. Gallagher, and through amalgamation with other elements will become part of the fourth largest global broker, but with an even stronger UK presence. Despite its size, Gallagher’s is still a family-run business and is fully commited to delivering outstanding local service, while using its strength to gain leverage with a panel of insurers. It has a good history of supporting schools with innovative insurance programmes

in the USA since the 1930s and is determined to increase its support to independent schools in the UK. iE

Oval Insurance Broking (Chichester) T: 01243 793784 / E: W:

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