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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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    • Kieran Humphrey - O'Melveny
    • Gillian Morrissey - Clyde & Co LLP

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Clyde & Co LLP is a global giant in insurance and has built a sizeable team in Hong Kong; it has a fine reputation in insurance and reinsurance in both the general and life arenas. The department covers a broad geographic area and a range of sectors, from construction and marine to financial lines. Clients include Allianz, AXA, Chubb, QBE and Zurich Insurance. The firm provides ‘top-level’ service and expertise, with Simon McConnell and Mun Yeow identified as the ‘pre-eminent financial lines lawyers in Hong Kong’, according to a client who also praises McConnell’s ‘technical expertise’ and ‘international knowledge’ and Yeow’s ‘understanding of both legal and cultural considerations’. Gloria Jones, Joyce Chan and Patrick Perry are also recommended. Insurance M&A expert Kevin Martin was promoted to partner in May 2017 and recently advised Hiscox on the sale of the Hong Kong division of its DirectAsia business to Well Link Group Holdings. Senior associate Gillian Morrissey is praised for her knowledge of the Insurance Companies (Amendment) Ordinance and her relationship with insurance authorities.

Deacons continues to show tremendous commitment to the insurance and reinsurance sector and is a clear market leader in personal injury claims. Clients include Essar Insurance Services, Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance, China Taiping Insurance and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance. The firm also represented MTR Corporation in several cases, including a claim concerning safety measures on platforms. Christina Hung and Alfred Tam are especially senior practitioners with fine records in personal injury and employee compensation claims. Esther Lai and Linda Lee are also big names.

Kennedys’ dedication to the insurance sector has earned it a hugely impressive client base, with the Hong Kong team delivering a rounded service across contentious and non-contentious disciplines. The firm is one of few in Hong Kong to have a commercial insurance specialist partner in Richard Bates, and, on the contentious side, Rupert Skrine and Chris Sharrock are seasoned insurance specialists with an impressive client following, particularly in financial lines cases. The firm is commended for its ‘quick response times and fully considered legal advice’.

Hong Kong titan Mayer Brown JSM has had strong ties to the industry for many years and continues to provide a range of services to clients, which include the likes of Medix, AXA, AIG, QBE Insurance Group, and Zurich. The firm advised Medix on its exclusive partnership with AIA Hong Kong to provide a personal medical case management service to eligible policyholders in Hong Kong. Angela Yim heads the department, which also includes medical malpractice leader Jacob Tse and leading corporate and regulatory insurance specialist Sara Or. The highly respected Tow Lu Lim heads the D&O liability and professional indemnity side of the practice.

DLA Piper has an active contentious and non-contentious insurance practice. Despite the departure of Joyce Chan to Clyde & Co LLP, the firm has remained at the forefront of the sector with Heng Loong Cheong on the transactions side and senior consultant Michael Turnbull providing decades of contentious and regulatory experience. Asia head of corporate Paul Chen also has extensive insurance sector experience. Clients include ACE Life Insurance, Aviva, China Life Insurance and Fosun International. The firm advised Fosun’s subsidiary Peak Reinsurance on a series of transactions, including its strategic investment in Nagico Holdings, the leading Caribbean insurance group.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a tremendous record in insurance sector transactions, including hotly contested deals. It has advised on many of the biggest insurance deals in the region, including the Asian segment of global transactions. The Hong Kong office advised Prudential Financial on the creation of a life insurance joint venture in Indonesia with CT Corp. It also represented AIG in the sale of its Japan life insurance business to FWD Group. Corporate partners Edwin Northover and William Chua have extensive experience in the insurance sector, and senior figure Drew Dutton splits his time between New York and Asia.

Howse Williams Bowers is very much founded on the insurance industry, with Kevin Bowers and Chris Howse being especially big names in this sector; Bowers’ ‘commitment to his work is second to none’. The firm is widely acknowledged as a leader in professional indemnity, medical negligence and marine insurance; it represents many indemnity insurers and providers for a range of professions and also advises numerous private hospitals in Hong Kong. The ‘professional’ office is ‘top of the local law firms’ and mixes this with genuine international experience. William Leung is ‘very professional’, ‘very experienced’ and recommended for shipping, personal injury and work safety cases.

RPC has gained significant traction in Hong Kong over recent years thanks to its global standing in the insurance sector and the profile of insurance giant David Smyth and established name Antony Sassi. The ‘very commercially minded’ team provides ‘succinct advice’ and is on many of the key insurer panels; it has an especially strong position in professional indemnity and financial lines. Clients include Chubb, Liberty, Zurich and AIG. Corporate partner Jeremy Cunningham joined the firm from Mayer Brown JSM in 2016 to enhance the transactions side of the practice.

Baker McKenzie is noted for its expertise in M&A and regulatory issues, and has a solid showing in contentious matters also. The firm advised Allianz on its successful bid for a 15-year bancassurance agreement with Standard Chartered to distribute general insurance products to the bank’s retail banking clients in five key Asian jurisdictions. Martin Tam leads the team and is noted for his experience in advisory matters and transactions.

Clifford Chance has leading regulatory, investigations and transactional expertise in Hong Kong with many of its partners having extensive experience in the financial institutions segment. Much of its insurance-related work is for banks such as Bank of America, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and UBS. Clients commend the practice for its ‘strong industry knowledge’, ‘bespoke advice’, ‘depth of team and the consistency of the advice’ and its expertise in ‘M&A insurance risks’. Donna Wacker is a senior litigator who frequently acts for financial institutions, particularly in regulatory issues. Mark Shipman is recommended for non-contentious regulatory matters and Amy Ho is ‘calm under pressure’ in insurance M&A transactions.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a market leader in insurance M&A and regulatory matters and the Hong Kong office continues to be prominent in this segment. Royce Miller is a prominent name in financial institutions regulation and Robert Ashworth is a seasoned M&A specialist with a considerable amount of insurance sector experience. The firm represents a range of Chinese and international insurance companies and is noted for its record in insurance M&A transactions in Asia and its work in the bancassurance sector.

Herbert Smith Freehills is best known for its contentious insurance work, though it maintains a consistent flow of transactional engagements. The team is ‘well tuned to clientscommercial needs’ and looks after an impressive list of names, such as Manulife, Ping An, China Taiping Insurance Group, Marsh, AIG and AXA. Gareth Thomas is a ‘capable insurance and commercial lawyer with strong practical litigation skills’ and Tommy Tong is recommended for insurance sector M&A.

Ince & Co is best known for marine insurance, although it has a thriving broader insurance practice covering personal injury, professional indemnity and product liability, among other areas. The firm has a number of Chinese and international insurance clients. Kelvin Lee covers marine and non-marine insurance and is especially active in Greater China, and Rosita Lau is noted for marine insurance and insurance regulatory issues.

Norton Rose Fulbright has a solid mix of contentious and non-contentious work and demonstrates particularly strong expertise in key segments such as D&O disputes and regulatory investigations; it is also building its presence in growth areas such as cybersecurity. Clients include Chubb, AIG, Allianz, AON, AXA and PICC. Corporate partner Emma de Ronde has extensive insurance sector expertise and recently advised Liberty International Underwriters on the domestication of its Hong Kong insurance business. Declan McDaid is recommended for contentious and regulatory matters.

O'Melveny primarily acts for brokers and insureds, but also features on several insurer panels. Financial lines and regulatory investigations form the bedrock of the practice. Hong Kong managing partner Denis Brock is one of the jurisdiction’s top litigators and has a great deal of insurance sector experience; he is supported by up-and-coming counsel Kieran Humphrey, another prominent insurance litigator.

Insurance transactions are a particular strength of Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong corporate practice. The global firm has an especially strong focus on financial institutions and this remains true for the Hong Kong office; bancassurance has been a growth area for the office. Will McAuliffe heads the Hong Kong corporate practice and has extensive insurance sector experience, and the hire of Charlotte Robins from Norton Rose Fulbright in 2016 provides the team with additional financial services regulatory expertise.

Bird & Bird maintains a solid mix of contentious and non-contentious work. Richard Keady has a strong background in the insurance sector. Disputes partner Keady is noted for professional indemnity and other insurance cases. Pádraig Walsh has left the firm to join Tanner De Witt

HFW has a strong background in the insurance sector, including marine insurance, and its efforts to expand its presence in Hong Kong have seen it grow its standing in financial lines. Clients commend the firm’s ‘high quality of technical knowledge and skillset in dealing with the issues’ and its ‘commercial sense’, with consultant Rosie Ng praised for her ‘technical knowledge’ and ability to get ‘straight to the point’. Clients also recommend Peter Coles.

Hogan Lovells advises a range of big global and regional insurers from its Hong Kong office; clients include AXA Asia, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), Prudential Hong Kong and CV Starr & Co. Much of the practice centres on corporate and regulatory issues, with experienced partner Tim Fletcher having an extensive knowledge of the insurance industry. Jan Buschmann provides further insurance sector experience at senior associate level.

Reed Smith Richards Butler has deep connections to the insurance industry in Hong Kong and Greater China. The firm continued to advise the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) on the Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill. It also represented the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA) in connection with its response to government’s proposal to create the new Independent Insurance Authority. Nathan Dentice and Asha Sharma are key names in the regulatory and disputes arenas respectively.

At Simmons & Simmons LLP, top insurance sector regulatory lawyer Martin Lister left in March 2017 to become general counsel of Transamerica Life (Bermuda), however the firm continues to be noted for contentious insurance matters through experienced consultant Robert Lewington. Lewington has an especially strong record in professional indemnity claims. Asia head of dispute resolution Tom Fyfe is another key name on the contentious side.

Stephenson Harwood has a sizeable bench of senior practitioners who are strongly associated with the insurance sector. Contentious insurance work is its mainstay, particularly in relation to maritime and international trade, energy, commodities and financial institutions. The firm also has genuine strength in non-contentious and regulatory issues. Guijun Wang, Giovanna Kwong and Andrew Ridgen Green are three key partners within a large department.

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