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United Kingdom > London > Insurance > Insurance and reinsurance litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
Insurance and reinsurance litigation
Clausen Miller LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Thomas Cooper LLP
Hall of Fame
- David Abbott – DWF
- Bernadette Bailey – Carter Perry Bailey LLP
- Neil Beresford – Clyde & Co LLP
- Nick Bradley – Pinsent Masons LLP
- David Chadwick – Kennedys
- Anthony Dempster – Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
- Ed Foss –
Clausen Miller LLP
Next generation lawyers
- Greig Anderson – Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
- James Deacon – DAC Beachcroft LLP
- Lucy Dyson – DAC Beachcroft LLP
- Simon Garrett –
Clausen Miller LLP
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With almost 200 partners across the UK involved in insurance work, a team that continues to recruit, and a client list that includes almost every leading (re)insurer globally – the likes of AIG, Allianz, Aviva, Swiss Re and Zurich – Clyde & Co LLP has earned its reputation as ‘a juggernaut for insurance matters’. The firm specialises in all types of insurance matters, spanning a variety of sectors and classes of insurance business, meaning it has the ‘ability to offer insurance companies the broadest coverage of business lines, at the highest quality and on a global scale’. This strength in depth is utilised in teams dedicated to specific sectors, such as aviation and space, directors’ and officers’ (D&O), marine, product liability/recall and cyber insurance. With regard to the latter, in September 2017 the firm launched Clyde Code, a consultancy service advising clients on all aspects of the burgeoning new area of smart contracts, blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Nigel Brook leads the global reinsurance team and James Cooper heads up the firm’s Lloyd’s and London market practice. Another notable asset is the ‘very knowledgeable’ Neil Beresford, who provides ‘excellent service’, particularly for insurers and reinsurers, evidenced by instructions on some of the largest claims in the market with values in excess of $1bn. Jane Andrewartha and Andrew Grant, both well regarded for their ‘significant market acumen and specialist knowledge’, are also key members of the prolific team that also includes marine and energy insurance specialist Simon Jackson. David Abbott joined DWF in 2018.
DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team ‘has a pragmatic, focused approach and adds real value for its clients’. This is married with a ‘very good level of service with strong knowledge in key areas such as construction’. David Bear, ‘a specialist in the field of construction insurance’ who makes clients ‘feel confident and comfortable when cases are in his hands’, is noted for his work in this sector. As well as construction, the firm has dedicated teams focusing on product liability, marine, and global insurance, to name but a few. The particular strength of the firm’s Latin American practice has attracted prominent partners such as Mark Kendall and Duncan Strachan from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold LLP, along with senior associates Sarah Hennessy and Lucy Dyson, to a growing team that has also seen the lateral hire of Matthew Olorenshaw from DWF. This expansion has strengthened a team that already includes the likes of Chris Wilkes, Ilana Gilbert and James Deacon. With ten offices across the UK and eight international offices, the practice offers an insurance service across all lines of business from straightforward to complex claims, and the information security and cyber team headed by Hans Allnutt demonstrates ‘the level and quality of service you would expect from a leading firm’ in the key market areas. Leading the practice is Nick Young, who, along with Fiona Gill, was also recently instructed by HDI Global and Rydon Maintenance following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Known for its ‘high quality, integrity, wide competence and very good understanding of the insurance industry’, Kennedys continues to expand and strengthen its global insurance teams. In June 2017 the firm completed its US merger with insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull and in October announced the establishment of a Bermuda office, with two partners joining from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold LLP, both of which gave a major boost to its global practice and cross-border capabilities. David Chadwick, the former head of Mayer Brown International LLP’s London insurance and reinsurance team, also recently joined the practice. This ambition is matched by instructions on some of the highest-value coverage claims in the London insurance market; notably, Trevor Davies is acting for Protector Insurance, the property and liability insurer of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the RBKC Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), in relation to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The firm has a particularly strong offering in property, energy, construction, professional indemnity and financial lines work; in addition, a specialised team handles large product-related defence and coverage litigation, as well as recalls in the entire EMEA region. This can be seen in highlights such as acting for AXA Insurance against Ted Baker, in claims arising out of the theft of stock by an employee from its warehouse over a period of years, in which Christina MacGregor achieved a win on appeal in September 2017. Nick Williams heads the active team that also includes the ‘quality and knowledgeable’ Michael Hogg, and the experienced David Wilkinson.
The ‘exemplary’ level of service at Clausen Miller LLP is combined with a ‘legal knowledge, value for money and quality of advice that is second to none’. ‘A market leader on conflict of laws and jurisdictional issues’, the boutique firm is renowned for handling complex, high-value claims that range across many industries including construction, engineering, energy, finance and manufacturing, and it specialises in insurance and reinsurance litigation. Among its clients are major insurers and reinsurers, including Lloyd’s syndicates, and international companies. John Startin and Jonathan Hall ‘are an exceptional double act: their strengths include thorough research and the depth of their analysis, along with their subsequent advice’. These ‘absolute experts in the field are tenacious in pursing the interests of their clients’, and are aided in this by associate Tatiana Markovitch, who is ‘exceptionally able on Latin American matters and has an excellent grasp of the commercial realities that underpin legal relationships’. Significant cross-border work includes contentious losses in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, involving both direct action and negotiation with insurers and reinsurers. In these matters, too, the firm remains a ‘first port of call for difficult or complex work’ thanks to ‘a strong global network’.
CMS’ May 2017 merger with legacy firms Nabarro and Olswang created one of the largest law firms in the UK, significantly increasing its capabilities. Ed Foss heads a team of 13 partners and seven associates, which includes construction specialist Monica Lesny, who also handles significant professional negligence claims on behalf of insolvency practitioners, insurance brokers, and PR and tech consultants, as well as Simon Garrett, whose practice focuses on claims against financial institutions, commercial D&O claims and complex professional indemnity disputes, not to mention a particular expertise in the aviation insurance market. Combined with a global reach and a full-service offering, the firm has helped to design new insurance products for cyber risks and is handling various complex cyber/data breach claims internationally. The large team is composed of experts in data protection and security, data loss and information management and can draw on this expertise when necessary. Recent highlights include Stephen Netherway leading the advice to Spire Healthcare in a high-profile coverage dispute with its insurer, RSA, relating to the medical negligence and fraud of consultant surgeon Ian Paterson.
What Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘lacks in pure numbers, it makes up for in quality and depth of talent’. Paul Lewis heads the team, which has ‘an extremely high level of quality from the senior partners down to the trainees’ and ‘technical abilities that are really second to none’. This can be seen in the work of partners such as Alexander Oddy, ‘who applies real intellectual rigour to complex claims’; he recently took the lead advising Single Buoy Mooring on a claim under its construction insurance programme arising out of damage to an oil platform on the Yme field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Another key member of the team is the ‘approachable and personable’ Anthony Dempster, ‘one of the best property insurance and reinsurance lawyers working in London, who provides clear and concise advice’. He acted for RSA in defending claims made under a property/liability risks insurance policy for losses arising from a major fire at a restaurant and office complex in Tabernacle Street in the City of London. In addition, the ‘top-drawer’ practice can claim to act for all interested parties in the insurance sector, from corporate policyholders and brokers to insurers and reinsurers, with blue-chip clients including RSA, Marsh, Willis and Aviva, for whom David Reston is the key contact. It is also progressing in emerging markets, with Greig Anderson advising on major cyber insurance claims, as well as assisting Airmic with producing a guide on the same topic.
HFW ‘provides a well-rounded service’, offering a comprehensive range of dispute resolution, transactional and regulatory legal services to the insurance sector, specialising in high-value, complex, multi-party, and cross-border work. Practice highlights include advising insurers in relation to coverage issues arising out of the Société Générale employee fraud, which cost the bank €5bn, and advising an insurer on its liability for claims made by the investment banks which advised Enron and HealthSouth, with claims totalling $100m. The team includes experienced insurance specialists Andrew Bandurka, Alison Proctor and Edward Rushton, as well as Christopher Foster, ‘a standout lawyer whose memory for cases is exceptional but who is able to translate that knowledge into a real pragmatism’, and the noteworthy Adam Strong, a seasoned negotiator of complex issues, with ‘a very good understanding of client requirements’.
Hogan Lovells International LLP advises across the full range of insurance disputes, specialising in those involving sanctions, regulatory issues and white-collar crime and investigations. It has a commitment to the cost and time-saving benefits of alternative dispute resolution and a track record in multi-party arbitrations. The firm’s belief in providing a value-for-money service has also driven the development and implementation of Prism, an early case assessment tool generating a timetable, costs and actions lists for clients facing complex disputes. Among these clients the firm counts major players in the insurance market such as Phoenix Group, AXA and Willis Towers Watson. Practice head Nick Atkins’ work extends from disputes about complex reinsurance and insurance coverage issues to negligence actions involving brokers and third-party administrators. He leads a team that includes Lloyd’s market specialist Jamie Rogers and Victor Fornasier, who is currently acting for PA(GI) in relation to liability for payment protection insurance (PPI) policies dating back to the late 1980s.
Ince & Co specialises in marine and energy-related insurance, with around 50% of its insurance work coming from these sectors; the team also handles property, business interruption, political risk, trade credit, professional negligence, D&O, and reinsurance matters. The roots of the practice lie in marine insurance law, and the firm handles ship casualty investigations as well as advising on marine insurance coverage questions. Global head of insurance Kiran Soar is advising RSA and a large group of other leading London and international marine insurers on the $30m coverage dispute following the sinking of the bulk carrier Panamax Trader in 2015 – one of the most important marine insurance cases of the year. While Chris Jefferis and Johanna Ewan recently left the firm to join long-term client XL Catlin, the practice maintains a strong UK and international capability, with a network of overseas offices and a number of partners qualified to practice in more than one jurisdiction. Recently promoted Elle Young is a go-to name for contentious matters across a wide range of marine classes of direct insurance and facultative reinsurance business. In another recent highlight that demonstrates the firm’s place in the market, Simon Cooper was instructed to prepare the single claims agreement to govern the model formed by Lloyd’s and the International Underwriting Association to allow a single insurer to agree claims on behalf of the whole insurance market.
Norton Rose Fulbright provides a ‘Rolls-Royce service’ that offers ‘sound advice and good team work’. A practice that works across the board, it has seen a particular increase in activity by regulators, with clients relying on its D&O and regulatory investigation expertise. The firm is also increasing its cyber and data protection insurance practice as a result of new mandates such as its appointment as data breach response counsel to AIG’s large corporate insureds in Europe. Several of the team’s highlights came from its strong marine practice: it was instructed to pursue a recovery action on behalf of Aspen Insurance, Travelers and AXA, as hull underwriters, against the owners and mortgagee bank of Atlantik Confidence, in respect of the payment of a constructive total loss following the fire on board and eventual sinking of the vessel on 3 April 2013. Chris Zavos led on this case and is currently also acting for London market war risks insurers in defence of claims following an alleged piracy attack on a crude oil tanker in the high-profile and well-publicised case of the Brillante Virtuoso. The practice is headed by Liam O’Connell, known for his ‘sound legal advice and innovative solutions to problematic legal issues’, and continues to grow. The arrival of the ‘excellent’ Adrian Mecz, Michelle George and Jonathan Ogle from the firm’s combination with legacy firm Chadbourne & Parke has further strengthened the insurance and reinsurance practice in London, adding ‘strong technical knowledge, tempered with good commercial and common sense’.
‘A pre-eminent insurance litigation firm’, RPC has a reputation for contentious insurance work in the financial lines, international property and power generation and energy sectors, areas in which it receives increasing numbers of instructions. The team is also investing in new sectors, having recently hired Naomi Vary, who specialises in trade credit and political risk insurance, from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold LLP. Karen Morrish also joined from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold LLP, while Toby Higginson and Toby Savage were promoted to partner. The team, headed by Simon Laird, also includes energy insurance market expert Gary Walkling, and is known for its ‘excellent personnel and very capable and effective resources‘ and for ‘providing a quality service’. The practice also has significant capability in the cyber risks field and has developed a cyber incident response service called ReSecure. The team acts for some of the major insurers, London market companies and global composites, including AIG, Liberty, AXA CS, XL Catlin and Aviva. Recent highlights include Simon Goldring applying for a declaration, on behalf of AXA CS, that the English court does not have jurisdiction over XL’s claim for double insurance against it, and Leigh Williams acting for WR Berkley Insurance and Lancashire Insurance Company in the high-profile case of Single Buoy Moorings Inc v Aspen Insurance UK & Ors. The latter represents the largest single asset insurance claim that has ever been litigated in the UK and one of the largest contested insurance claims brought in any jurisdiction.
Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave merged to form Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in April 2018, giving clients access to a ‘very professional service’. The team handles major insurance coverage disputes, usually international in nature and often with an unusual element, for blue-chip clients such as AIG, Munich Re and Travelers; it recently advised the latter in relation to a disputed insurance claim in excess of £1m. Another highlight for the practice, which is particularly known for its ‘good knowledge of D&O defence’, was Anthony Lennox defending the former finance director of a large refrigeration business that became insolvent, assisted by Kelly Jones. Lennox, who heads the firm’s insurance and reinsurance disputes practice, has 25 years’ experience of (re)insurance litigation and arbitration. Another notable attraction for clients is head of insurance Jonathan Sacher, who has not lost a reinsurance case in over 20 years.
The ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ team at niche insurance firm Carter Perry Bailey LLP, based in the heart of London’s insurance and reinsurance market, is ‘top class’, but its real selling point is ‘the expert and approachable founding partners’. Stephen Carter has over 30 years’ experience of insurance and reinsurance, and specialist in international direct insurance claims Bernadette Bailey ‘is consummately professional and highly effective’. The ‘responsive and pragmatic’ Bill Perry is handling a complex ongoing case for mutual insurance company Sentry Insurance following a Part VII transfer which turned out to be defective. Despite a general downturn in London market reinsurance disputes, the international nature of the practice has meant that it continues to receive instructions in reinsurance matters, whether direct from overseas insurers/reinsurers, through brokers or through its membership of Insuralex, the leading international group of specialist insurance and reinsurance law firms. Among its diverse clients the firm can count AXA ART Insurance, FedEx Trade Networks, Nasco France and Syrian Arab Insurance.
‘Response times are always quick and advice is detailed and to the point’ at Cooley (UK) LLP, which offers a ‘very in-depth knowledge’ of the sector. While it is best known for complex insurance and reinsurance disputes in arbitration or in the Commercial Court, the firm’s expertise extends to insurance run‐off and insolvency and cross-border work, particularly in the US market. An extensive and prestigious client base in the US, Bermuda, Europe, London market and South East Asia includes the likes of Lloyd’s Market Association, Munich Re, Swiss Re, AXA and XL Bermuda. David Kendall, who is ‘intelligent, sophisticated, supportive and guileful, in the best possible sense’, acted for the latter in relation to disputes in London arbitration concerning coverage under Bermuda Form liability insurance policies. In another recent highlight, ‘extremely knowledgeable, efficient and effective’ practice head Mark Everiss, assisted by Sam Tacey, obtained a worldwide freezing order on behalf of Med Re against one of its former directors. The team also includes the ‘strategic and business orientated’ James Crabtree.
With a global platform of over 300 lawyers worldwide in the insurance and reinsurance practice, not to mention the addition of two new associates in the London team, DLA Piper offers experience and strength in depth, particularly when it comes to dealing with high-profile cross-border matters. Aviation, transaction liability and cyber insurance and reinsurance claims disputes are where the team thrives, and a focus on new emerging specialist lines such as cyber security and warranty and indemnity insurance helps give the practice an edge. Clients include major actors in the market such as Swiss Re, Aviva and R&Q. Among other notable instructions, the team advised Placing Platform, a London Market Group venture company set up to promote competitiveness and technological development in the London market, and represented R&Q, the manager of Lloyd’s Syndicate 102, in liability claims arising from the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. These cases were led by practice heads Leon Taylor and Andrew Symons respectively. Rebecca Hopkirk joined the team from RPC in September 2018.
‘A strong team who complement each other’s skill sets and good connections to lawyers abroad’ are the key factors that define DWF’s practice. It has particular expertise in high-value international cases and a deep bench with a core team of 16 partner and 65 associates working in the sector, which makes ‘the service excellent as well as the response times, flexibility and advice market leading’. In a recent highlight, Kieran Walshe acted for RSA in Spire Healthcare Ltd v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc, a policy coverage dispute arising out of the medical malpractice and illegal practices of consultant breast surgeon Ian Paterson. Practice head Jonathan Moss is currently acting for Travelers in a case involving a collision between a container vessel and a mobile harbour crane in Freetown Terminal, Sierra Leone. Global casualty team head John Groome has ‘significant experience in the UK and US’ and acts for direct insurers on coverage and property/product liability claims. Another notable team member is the ‘efficient and strategic’ Antony Woodhouse, who is ‘excellent in insurance arbitration practice and an absolute pleasure to work with on a day-to-day basis’. David Abbott joined from Clyde & Co LLP in 2018.
The Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP team is ‘excellent and provides great value for money’. It distinguishes itself with its ‘technical breadth and experience, as well as its understanding of the industry’. Major clients such as XL Catlin, AON, RiverStone and AIG come to the firm for its ‘responsive, helpful and proactive’ approach. The team in London has advised on disputes connected to several other jurisdictions, in collaboration with its insurance colleagues in the firm’s network of over 60 foreign offices. This international reach has increased since the merger with US legacy firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, which took effect on 1 February 2017, with the firm acquiring a number of US market-leading insurance practitioners. The particular strength of its real estate practice group gives the team a competitive advantage, as does the 25 years’ experience in insurance coverage disputes of practice head Simon Brooks. Another asset for the team is high-profile financial and professional risks expert Naz Gauri. Recent highlights include representing the successful defendant Motorplus in a claim brought by a firm of solicitors against the legal expenses insurance underwriting agency. Taking the lead in this case was Paula Gaddum, who was also instructed by Guarantee Protection Insurance to bring a claim against a Lloyd’s broker which had allegedly acted outside of its authority in concluding overseas insurance contracts.
‘With an impressive reputation in insurance litigation, BLM‘s London office can hold its own with any firm’; it has ‘a very strong team with market-leading expertise in coverage disputes, notably in the fields of commercial property insurance and liability insurance’. This has recently been enhanced by the arrival of professional negligence expert Ross Baker, who specialises in professional indemnity and D&O liability insurance, from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. ‘A modern litigator who gets excellent results’, Baker is ‘an insurance and reinsurance coverage expert with superb people skills’. The strong team is headed by John O’Shea, who has ‘great experience of coverage litigation and major subrogated claims’, as well as ‘a very acute understanding of the law‘, and is ‘admirably cool under pressure’. Another noteworthy member of the team is Mark Aitken, ‘an insurance litigator with particular strength in factually complex coverage disputes such as major fire claims’, whose ‘rigorous pursuit of every line of enquiry has secured an enviable series of victories in the High Court’. The team acts for major insurers in important reported cases and ‘achieves excellent results through its meticulous enquiries and clear, rigorous litigation strategies’. A recent example is its advice to Network Rail Infrastructure on a variety of property-related disputes including environmental issues, boundary disputes, engineering issues and other liability claims relevant to land ownership and the rail industry, notably the Court of Appeal case of Williams and Waistell v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited.
‘Creative and innovative in proposing solutions’, Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘very responsive and excellent at analysing the problem’. A particular expertise is in construction; the team is handling several insurance claims arising from significant global construction projects. The ‘tactically very sound’ Colin Read is the firm’s specialist in this sector and ‘runs a happy and engaged team that uses junior and senior resources well’. Another key area of work is cyber and data breach insurance, in which Ian Birdsey is an expert. The team has also been working with a number of UK general insurers on cyber terrorism extension wordings within UK commercial property covers. Heading the practice is Nick Bradley, an expert in claims arising in the run-off sector, with clients including RSA and Armour Re.
Simmons & Simmons provides ‘excellent service, quick responses and very technical individuals who will go above and beyond to assist the client, whatever the query’. One of the clear stand-outs is Jason Bright, who is ‘an excellent and extremely approachable lawyer, with an immense understanding of the needs of the insurance market and the difficulties it faces’. Focused on product liability and product recall losses, ‘his advice is always clear and concise and he has the intelligence to find solutions where others wouldn’t’. Overall, the firm specialises in five key sectors: financial institutions, asset management, life sciences and technology, media, and telecoms. The insurance team focuses on practice areas that complement these sectors, such as cyber liability, fine art claims, intellectual property liability and media professional liability claims. Headed by James Pollock, the practice spans Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and includes experts in other jurisdictions such as Latin America. This allows for a crucial cross-border capacity.
The ‘stellar’ team at Slaughter and May ‘adopts a rigorous but commercially sensible approach to insurance and reinsurance litigation’. Across disputes in a variety of insurance sectors, including multi-jurisdictional coverage, reinsurance insolvency subrogation issues, product recall, and professional indemnity insurance, the practice maintains ‘a great track record’. Sarah Lee leads a team that includes the pre-eminent Efstathios Michael, who ‘has a great intellect, but also very good commercial instincts, and always adopts a practical approach to insurance dispute resolution’. Highlights included successfully representing Equitas in proceedings in the High Court regarding its pursuit of multiple, substantial and complex reinsurance claims against its reinsurer, R&Q, as well as advising Marsh in respect of a claim in the Commercial Court brought by Meinl Bank.
At Browne Jacobson LLP, ‘the overall level of service is excellent’ and the team ‘provides balanced, considered, high-quality advice on a very wide range of coverage’; its ‘combined business acumen is excellent and the lawyers are some of the best in field in the London market’. Jonathan Newbold heads the group, which comprises seven partners, 11 solicitors and four claims handlers. One of the firm’s leading partners for contentious insurance claims, he primarily acts on behalf of underwriters, from whom he has received instructions in connection with some very high-value and high-profile insurance work. ‘The strong and reliable’ Colin Peck ‘exudes an air of authority and depth of knowledge without being overbearing’. For 25 years he has specialised in insurance and reinsurance policy coverage advice and related disputes involving the London and Lloyd’s market. Another key team member, Francis Mackie, has over 30 years of experience in the London (re)insurance market. These stand-out partners both arrived in early 2017, significantly strengthening the firm’s offering, and the team continued to grow with the December 2017 hire of professional indemnity specialist Ed Anderson from the London office of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP. Add to this recently becoming the London member of the Harmonie Group of insurance law firms and it can be seen as a firm with great ambition in the sector.
An international law firm with offices in London and across North America, Cozen O’Connor ‘has good geographic spread and is responsive to questions’; it is well positioned to assist clients with cross-border claims, litigation and regulatory issues and handle insurance matters in more than 40 jurisdictions, including the UK, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and Africa. A particular focus is representing underwriters in complex coverage litigation, focusing on international property and casualty, aviation, mining, power, oil and gas, construction, and political risk insurance. ‘Very knowledgeable and personable’ practice head Paul Dowsey advised more than 15 insurers in respect of a potentially very large engineering loss in Latin America with a possible claim in excess of $300m; the matter eventually came to a successful conclusion. The team is also advising AXA Insurance (Gulf) on a reinsurance coverage dispute concerning employee health insurance programmes.
Mayer Brown International LLP covers the spectrum of insurance work, including financial institutions; political and trade credit risks; reinsurance; professional indemnity; public and products liability; D&O liability; property and fire damage; and offshore disputes. David Chadwick and his team moved to Kennedys; Jane Childs now heads the practice along with Sean Connolly, who continues to advise insurers including Chubb Insurance Company of Europe, Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe, and Lloyd’s of London syndicates on five years of cover in respect of exposures of an independent financial adviser arising out of advice to invest in various film finance schemes. The firm has a strong international offering with offices in South America and links with Bermuda and Ireland; this allows for expertise in cross-border disputes. In addition, the team features lawyers who cover a broad range of insurance risks for major clients such as MDO Management Company, Chubb Insurance Company of Europe, Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe.
Stephenson Harwood’s marine insurance group is ‘excellent in terms of quality of advice’, offering clients ‘legal and offshore industry knowledge and speed of response’. Its focus on marine insurance makes it a go-to firm for London and continental insurers and reinsurers in relation to insurance coverage liability and subrogated disputes; the team also advises on policy wordings across the board in offshore disputes. Simon Moore acted for Navigators Insurance Company, Travelers Syndicate 5000 at Lloyd’s, and others in the high-profile case of the B Atlantic, which was detained in Venezuela in 2007; the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the clients in May 2018. In other highlights, team head Alex Davis oversaw the firm’s appointment to the legal panels of RSA and Brit Insurance, as well as managing the firm’s relationship with Talbot and Hiscox. Also noteworthy is the ‘experienced and commercially minded’ Nick Barber, who specialises in hull, cargo and liability insurance, ‘demonstrates a clear grasp of the legal issues and provides excellent advice’.
Steptoe & Johnson UK LLP ‘provides sensible, pragmatic advice’, focusing on high-value, high-complexity disputes, particularly Bermuda Form arbitrations. A high-profile example of this work was practice head Angus Rodger representing the insurer in a Bermuda Form arbitration arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. A solicitor advocate who has advised and represented insurers and reinsurers for 26 years, Rodger is a ‘first choice’ in the field. Major insurance clients include Enstar, Hannover Re and Generali, and in October 2017 the firm also hosted the Lex Mundi international (re)insurance symposium, a knowledge-sharing event for insurance law specialists from around the world.
Gordon Dadds LLP is noted for its focus on bespoke, partner-led work; the key names in the department are Adrian Bingham and Max Robinson. The team handles complex and high-value disputes relating to interpretation of policy conditions and exclusions; professional negligence claims involving principally construction industry and financial professionals; material damage claims; and environmental pollution matters for a client base predominantly centred on the London market, but also including international risks. It has a particular specialism in claims concerning construction and engineering projects, and commercial legal expenses.
Gowling WLG offers a compact but experienced team of insurance lawyers who focus on litigation, arbitration and mediation skills, including international arbitration. Particularly known for coverage and Bermuda Form arbitration work, the team is led by Samantha Holland, who was promoted to partner in May 2017. She is supported by David Breslin, who specialises in insurance and reinsurance, major and complex claims. Among its clients the firm can claim some major market players such as Allianz Insurance, Argo Re, XL Catlin and Chubb Atlantic.
The ‘professional and dedicated’ Keystone Law ‘fully understands the insurance market and the type of advice that is required to assist its clients’. Employers’ and public liability claims specialist Steven Conway and Jason Kallis, a litigator who specialises in construction, product liability and property are key members of the team. In a recent highlight, Kallis, who is ‘intelligent yet down to earth and gives concise and accurate advice which helps insurers get to the crux of the matter’, defended pool equipment manufacturer Certikin International and its insurers against a £3.1m claim over an allegedly defective pool liner.
The London team of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP forms part of a global insurance practice advising on insurance coverage issues, dispute resolution and sophisticated restructurings using insurance recoveries. In 2017 the team continued to expand its litigation capabilities with the recruitment of Chris Warren-Smith and Melanie Ryan. The multi-jurisdictional set-up of the firm translates to a particular expertise in representing clients on cross-border matters involving Bermuda Form policies. Peter Sharp and Nick Greenwood lead a team experienced in a variety of insurance recovery, insurance and reinsurance matters, as well as emerging markets.
Boutique firm Plexus Law acts exclusively for insurers, and is instructed in the full range of matters, including higher-value complex claims. The practice has a particular focus on property risks and coverage, with a dedicated team that provides specialist legal advice and services in the areas of property and casualty insurance. In addition, the team offers a bespoke recovery unit for subrogated claims, and has gained instructions from clients including Direct Line, RSA, QBE and Ageas, as well as being active in the Lloyd’s market. Victoria Jordan, who specialises in property-related insurance including construction and liability risks, heads the team, which also includes Paul Cha. He recently acted for Ageas and Aviva in a claim in relation to a major fire that occurred in the claimant’s hotel.
Signature Litigation LLP’s team focuses on complex international insurance disputes, making it ‘an excellent, trustworthy firm for heavyweight litigation’. The highly specialised dispute resolution boutique has a strong focus on large, complex and often cross-border cases, particularly in Latin America. In this regard, practice head Hermes Marangos is the go-to expert, as one of the pioneers on complex matters for the insurance and reinsurance industry in Latin America. ‘Intelligent, with an excellent knowledge of the field’, he offers the ability to ‘think outside the box and get inside the Latin American psyche’. The breadth of experience in the practice covers a wide range of sectors, including losses arising out of natural disasters and claims under D&O policies, but especially multi-jurisdictional disputes and large-scale infrastructure projects. Julian Connerty recently advised Gable Insurance on a potential claim against underwriting agency Morgan Law.
Instructed in a range of matters, Thomas Cooper LLP is particularly active in cross-border and marine work. Celso de Azevedo’s practice focuses on international insurance and litigation, particularly complex, cross-border Latin American and European disputes; he is also a founding committee member of the Cyber Insurance Association. An example of de Azevedo’s work in these fields is his advice to London reinsurers in a Chilean reinsurance claim arising from the placement of a cyber risks policy programme in Chile and Peru. In the marine insurance area, clients can rely on Ceri Done, who has a broad practice with a focus on marine and yacht disputes. She is currently acting for the owners and insurers of a superyacht that was destroyed by fire while undergoing repairs under warranty. A welcome new addition to the London team is Mark Sachs, who relocated in May 2017 to take up a position in the shipping and international trade group, heading the China/Japan team.
‘Really well-established with leading insurers and insured clients’, Weightmans LLP is ‘strongly recommended’. Experienced in reinsurance, property, construction, liability, and professional negligence coverage disputes, as well as handling increasing numbers of instructions in financial lines, D&O, cyber, and political risk matters, the team offers its expertise to both London market and international clients. For construction coverage disputes, the firm is led by the ‘bright, commercial, serious and tough’ Ed Lewis, and Robert Crossingham provides ‘technical excellence’, particularly in the field of professional liability. The addition of partner Simon Durkin from DWF in October 2017 also gave the team a boost in policy coverage and related disputes. A recent highlight for the team is representing reinsurers Sirius International Insurance Corporation and Allianz Insurance in respiratory claims disputes arising out of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Coverage disputes specialist Ling Ong is leading in this matter.
Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients’ changing needs
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