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Aon CEO: Intellectual property insurance market 'should be bigger than cyber'

The market for insuring intellectual property risks "should be much bigger than cyber," according to Aon PLC CEO Greg Case.

Speaking on a conference call to analysts about Aon's third-quarter earnings Oct. 25, Case noted that between 80% and 85% of the value in the S&P 500 stock index is attributable to intangible assets.

"This is a $100 billion-plus market over time," he said, if the industry helped clients protect their intellectual property. "Our view is this is a tremendous opportunity for the industry and candidly a tremendous opportunity for our clients."

He argued that while other types of insurance protect clients against the risk of something going wrong, insuring intellectual property gives it a value.

"You can actually help clients create net new value that they already had but didn't know it," he said, adding: "The opportunity we think is substantial and you can see us investing heavily behind it."

Case also reiterated his view that the cyber insurance market presented another "huge opportunity" for the insurance industry, noting that the amount of available cover is "anemic" compared to client demand.

Case's comments came in response to questions about how Aon would continue growing, particularly with the threat of economic headwinds globally. Case said the company still had all the capabilities it had when the last financial crisis hit 10 years ago, but that it was now "a stronger firm in which we are creating new addressable demand" with products such as cyber and intellectual property coverage.

Aon reported groupwide organic revenue growth of 5% in the discrete third quarter and 6% year-to-date.