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    • David Méheut - Clyde & Co LLP

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The ‘pragmatic’, ‘quick and reliable’ team at Clyde & Co LLP provides contentious and non-contentious advice to insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries from a wide spread of sectors including industrial risk, maritime and aviation, energy and commodities. The group’s areas of strength span corporate matters such as business restructurings, regulatory work including product development and distribution matters, as well as litigation mandates. Key names include practice head Gildas Rostain, the ‘efficient’ Yannis Samothrakis, who ‘has an enormous international network’ and forms ‘a very experienced tandem’ with legal director Jean-Michel Reversac, ‘very clever’, ‘conscientious’ and ‘up-and-coming bright lawyer’ David Méheut and Rozenn Lopin. Recent highlights include acting for the French branch of a major international insurer in pursuing a claim pertaining to an alleged defect in a pipeline fitting system in Qatar, and assisting AXA France with the structuring of a buy-in transaction from a major international group, which involved insuring several hundred million euros in pension liabilities. In one example of its cross-border expertise, the team acted for a major international insurer regarding the coverage of claims against a French bank in relation to an alleged participation in Euribor and Libor manipulation. Chubb, XL Catlin and Swiss Re are other clients.

The ‘very strong’ and ‘very reliable’ team at Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. provides ‘a mix of technical skills and business acumen’ and is, according to one client, in ‘the top tier for the provision of legal and regulatory advice, both on contentious and non-contentious matters’. It provides ‘consistency in quality across the group’, handling insurance and reinsurance matters, with a broad range of expertise including litigation and regulatory services, and has notable strengths in transport, life insurance and construction-related matters. ‘Outstanding adviser’ Richard Ghueldre, who provides ‘smart analyses’ and ‘clear opinions’, jointly heads the team with Capucine Bernier. The department advised the Caisse Centrale de Réassurance on the setting-up of subsidiary CCR RE, a new entity focusing on market reinsurance activities. Other highlights include acting for AXA in the first class action regarding insurance and reinsurance in France, and providing industrial risk advice to MAF concerning its newly-inaugurated start-up campus Station F. On the contentious front, the group acted for Pasteur Mutualité Group in a dispute between two mutual insurers. Clients include insurers and insurance brokers such as AIG and AMV.

The ‘excellent’ team at HFW provides ‘outstanding service’ and focuses on complex insurance claims, both domestic and cross-border. Industrial risk, professional indemnity, product liability and public liability insurance are the group’s core specialisms, and it is a popular choice for manufacturing and heavy industry clients, as well as transport, construction and energy sector clients. Practice head Olivier Purcell, Guillaume Brajeux and Pauline Arroyo are the key names. Recent instructions involved a potential product liability claim and compliance-related regulatory advice. Clients include Generali, Helvetia and XL Catlin. Pierre-Olivier LeBlanc joined Taylor Wessing.

At ‘top-tier firm’ Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP, ‘the partners and associates work closely together to deliver concise and commercially savvy advice’. The team not only has ‘a very good grasp of the French regulatory environment, but also possesses an excellent understanding of cross-border issues’ and stands out through its ‘extremely quick turn-around times and detailed, yet practical answers’. The group has a strong focus on corporate and regulatory work, alongside its proven strength in litigation. ‘True expert’ Sébastien Gros, who is ‘always on the spot’ and known for his ‘precise advice’, jointly heads the team with Thomas Rouhette. Finance expert Sharon Lewis lends support in capital markets-related insurance matters and ‘excellent’ senior associate Ghina Farah ‘is a pleasure to work with’. The team advised CNP Assurances on its partnership with AG2R La Mondiale, structured as a joint venture with AG2R La Mondiale’s retirement savings subsidiary Arial Assurance, which had a total value of €12bn in transferred insurance commitments. Other work includes acting for Boeing insurer Global Aerospace in defending claims brought by over 500 claimants following the crash of flight Flash Airlines B-737 in the Red Sea in 2004. Scor, Allianz and AXA are also clients.

Squire Patton Boggs specialises in insurance and reinsurance litigation and also has regulatory expertise. Core strengths include insurance coverage and professional indemnity litigation, with a significant proportion of work from the aviation, energy and construction sectors. Key practitioners Carole Sportes and Valérie Ravit advise a range of major international and mid-market insurers. Recent work includes representing AIG Europe as insurer of French mining company Lormines in defending claims alleging mining subsidence, and acting for AIG Europe in insurance coverage litigation pertaining to claims against EDF totalling €1bn and arising from the connection of solar energy installations to the public electricity network. In another complex instruction, the department advised Danish insurer Alpha Insurance Group on the run-off of an entire insurance portfolio involving property and liability coverage, which saw the team act in a multidistrict insurance dispute involving insurance brokers and former insurance holders. Another highlight was acting for Foyer Assurances in relation to defects affecting a geothermal power plant of one of its insured in Guadaloupe. AXA Corporate Solutions is also a client.

Industrial risk and professional liability matters are the key focus of August Debouzy’s team. The group’s expertise takes in personal injury litigation, product liability and construction insurance, as well as arbitration before the International Arbitration Chamber of Paris. The insurance practice is a part of the firm’s litigation department and is led by Alexandra Cohen-Jonathan, who is particularly active for clients from the health, chemistry and agri-food sectors and has strengths advising on the civil liability of officers and directors. The department acts for a number of high-profile clients, with instructions including both high-value and mid-cap matters. A major highlight was acting for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in a summary proceeding brought against AGCS and several other parties following a flood in the basement of Station F, a start-up campus in Paris, arising from an alleged defect in the sprinkler system. The group is assisting SNCF Mobilités following a fatal train crash in the Parisian suburb of Brétigny-sur-Orge in 2013. On the non-contentious side, the department advised EDF Assurance on the redrafting of its insurance policies and coordinated the renewal of the liability insurances by way of tender. Chubb, Spie and Generali are other clients.

The ‘very responsive’ team at DLA Piper ‘provides sophisticated, practical and tactical advice’ on contentious and non-contentious matters, with a portfolio of expertise that includes domestic and cross-border matters. Product liability matters and arbitration are key areas, but the group also handles cyber liability, casualty, tort and personal injury claims, as well as assisting with property and credit risk-related insurance matters. Practice head and aviation expert Vonnick Le Guillou specialises in complex international liability matters. Key practitioner Bruce Mee is ‘very strategic and knowledgeable’ and ‘a pleasure to work with’; his experience includes arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution procedures. Capital markets specialist Fabrice Armand is the name to note for insurance-related regulatory issues, particularly regarding the structuring of new insurance products. The team acts for domestic and international players such as Allianz Vie, AGCS, Amlin Insurance and AIG Europe and was appointed to AXA’s global legal panel for claims litigation in March 2017.

H&A is active in domestic and cross-border matters, with expertise in industrial risk and professional liability mandates, though director’s and officer’s liability and building and engineering liability are also key areas. The team has a strong track record in advising on medium and major industrial losses, providing emergency assistance immediately after a disaster all the way through to closing the case. The litigation practice is a popular choice for clients from the banking and financial services sector. Other areas of expertise are product liability, claims arising from property damages, all-risk insurance, loan insurance and life insurance. Practice head François Hascoët, Catherine Dupuy, François-Genêt Kiener and Julie Verdon are noted.

HMN & Partners is best known for its insurance litigation practice, where it is a key name for disasters work in the aviation and wider transport sector at a domestic and international level. Other areas of expertise include product liability, professional liability and industrial risk cases. Simon Ndiaye, Gérard Honig and Bernard Mettetal are noted.

Norton Rose Fulbright handles a balanced mix of corporate, regulatory and dispute-related work. The team has experience in advising on the setting-up of new entities, strategic distribution schemes and outsourcing agreements, but is also adept at handling regulatory mandates relating to permission and passporting issues, compliance and the development of new warranties and indemnity insurance coverage. Practice head Bénédicte Denis recently advised AIG Europe on four warranty and indemnity transactions, including reviewing due diligence and transaction documents and assisting with the legal aspects of the underwriting process. Other work includes advising Apicil Group on its fintech partnership with AXA Seed factory and start-up Fundshop, aimed at developing white-label asset and investment management software for financial institutions, and handling Allianz’s €244m strategic acquisition of the Moroccan subsidiary of Zurich. Other clients include Cardif, Santander Consumer France and AnaCap Financial Partners.

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