040 Risk Management in Surveying with Emma Vigus

Emma Vigus is the Managing Director at Mio, a sales progression platform for estate agents. Emma has over 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing and business development across the residential property sector. Prior to her current role at Mio, she spent 10 years specializing in PII insurance and risk management for surveyors.

She is also Founder and Chairperson of Women In Residential Property, which fosters collaboration between women in senior roles across all sectors of the residential property sector.

Emma has been featured in a range of publications, including EA Today, The Negotiator, Today’s Conveyancer, Mortgage Finance News and been a guest on The World Class Agency Podcast.

Insurance and Risk Management for Surveyors

Emma Vigus got involved with the surveying industry as an insurance broker at Howden. She didn’t have prior experience with insurance, but she was willing to take a stab at it, and ended up spending ten happy years at Howden, as well as an RICS partner.

“My job was to help surveying firms get hopefully affordable professional indemnity insurance, given that I started in insurance just as PII premiums were starting to ramp significantly, and giving advice about risk management. In a typical year at Howden, I would probably speak to 500 to 1000 surveying firms, and that could be everything from a sole trader to speaking at RICS or big corporate conferences,” Emma says.

She continues to share her insights into risk management for surveying and advice with regards to PII insurance and claims.

“From a risk management point of view,” she continues, “the most important thing you can start with is a well-run business. Generally, we spend a lot of time training people on technical stuff, but we don’t train people how to run a business. A well-run business is far less likely to have claims. That covers everything from your approach to pricing to how you articulate the value in what you’re offering. What I’ve seen in numerous professions is that competing on price is a lazy approach to business. Understanding how to articulate value is not easy to do, and it’s made even harder because a lot of professional services firms don’t place any value at all on marketing and business development. Surveyors never tell a story on their website. A surveyor facilitates getting somebody into the home that they need, not the home they want, and they’re very different and huge things. Homes are massively important to us, whether we’re renting or buying them. I haven’t seen a single surveying website where they say ‘this is a story of how I worked with Mr. And Mrs. Smith to help them buy their dream property.”

Mio – Tech Solution for Estate Agents

After spending 10 years in the insurance industry, Emma needed a change and last year she moved into the Managing Director position at Mio. She explains what Mio does.

“Mio is a fairly early-stage business. The concept has been developed over the course of about five or six years, and it’s gone through various iterations. Mio today is a sales crushing platform for estate agents. If you’re an agent, you’re selling a property and it reaches the sold subject to contract, there are obviously lots of things that have to happen between SSTC and exchanging. Mio just guides the agent through a very simple process to help agents stay organised. There’s an integrated consumer app, so as the agent says this has happened, the buyer or seller is updated in the platform. There’s also an integrated chain view as well, so if there’s a property that’s part of a three-property chain, the more agents that use Mio, the more clarity you get up and down the chain. A single view of the chain is something that the property industry has been calling for years.”

We asked Emma how she finds the estate agents world after working with residential surveyors for so long.

“They’re no different to any other profession,” Emma says. “There are some fantastic estate agents, there are a few bad ones, the same as in any other industry. Like every profession involved in residential property, they are hamstrung by poor technology, and the attempts to change are hampered by regulatory challenges, and by the difficulties of integrating multiple different pieces of tech, also to some extent by suppliers who don’t really understand the sectors they’re working with ,or the process they claim to be trying to re-engineer. Luckily, my senior team in mio has worked across every facet of a residential property for at least at 10 years, and that’s really important.

Women in Residential Property

Emma is the founder of Women in Residential Property network, hosting regular events for women who work throughout the residential property sector, with the aim of encouraging collaboration across the sector.

“We’ve got 400 members now,” she says. “The critical feature of Women in Residential Property is that it’s pan-professional, so we gather surveyors, conveyancers, agents, mortgage brokers, lenders, anybody with an interest in the residential property sector. That’s really important because we aren’t going to solve any challenges unless we collaborate and work together. All too often, the view that is perceived or perpetuated within the media is that agents and conveyancers, or agents and surveyors can’t work together. And there are hundreds of examples where people move into the homes they need because agents, surveyors and conveyancers have worked really well together. We need to celebrate that and we need to build on it. Women in Residential Property is just one vehicle for doing that,” Emma concludes.  

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