Name: Joe Fernandez

Title: Corporate manager, AIG Europe London commercial D&O portfolio

Route to job: After a brief stint as an IFA I headed to law school and into the legal profession, qualifying as a solicitor in 1994 and staying in the profession for a further four years.

I decided a more commercial role would be challenging and in 1998 joined AIG Europe as a management liability underwriter, working predominantly on directors' and officers' (D&O).

Initially I put my legal experience to good use by working on updating policy wordings and introducing new wordings for new lines of business, among them employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) and public offering of securities insurance (Posi).

Current job:As a corporate manager for AIG Europe's London commercial D&O portfolio, I am responsible for products such as pension trustee liability, EPLI and Posi as well as D&O.

I am responsible for a growing team which currently encompasses seven underwriters. We predominantly underwrite on a primary or first excess basis, which requires close liaison with brokers and policyholders.

We write a wide variety of companies ranging from small private companies to large FTSE 100 companies and international companies (other than North American domiciled entities).

Typical day: Every day is different and normally hectic. I regularly attend presentations with brokers and their clients and in between I'm dealing with queries on policy wordings, endorsements as well as urgent quotes. These usually have to be turned round very quickly because we are often the primary layer insurance provider.

It's a very "people focused" job, whether on the phone or face to face and so working well with people, both internally and externally, is an important part of my job and helps my day run smoothly.

Biggest challenge: The biggest challenges within the D&O market are reflected throughout all areas of financial lines business - disciplined underwriting, keeping up to speed with constant changes in the law, best practice and custom.

Given the more developed D&O market in the US and recent high profile scandals there, we obviously need to have an in-depth understanding of the issues that face international companies with a US presence and develop a strategy to deal with them.

Issue with most impact: Of course, as a primary market we face potential losses, but we must ensure that we have a clear and disciplined underwriting philosophy backed up by an excellent claims department - all of which we have.

We also have a number of non-insurance services that actively help our corporate clients when faced with complex corporate governance issues.

Largest issue going forward: Retaining our position as markets leaders and continuing to offer products that innovate and work well with our brokers and clients.

It is a difficult time for brokers and clients, but it's also a challenge to find them suitable solutions.

Greatest achievement so far: It has been exciting to develop truly new products and new areas of cover and using my previous experience as a solicitor in the process.

It has been great to shape and work with what I consider the best D&O team in the business.

And it has been great to create an outstanding reputation for our team in the market.

Advice to someone wanting to do the job: Choose an area in which to specialise and develop a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise in that area.

Couple this with good understanding and technical knowledge of other areas in the same field.

Work with honesty, integrity and professionalism at all times if you want respect from your brokers and clients.