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  1. Insurance: corporate and regulatory
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A cut above the rest’, Clifford Chance’s team is ‘particularly strong in coordinating multi-jurisdictional advice and presenting it in a consistent and appropriate manner’. Global insurance head Katherine Coates and corporate and regulatory lawyer Ashley Prebble are both ‘exceptionally bright, well-informed specialist lawyers in the sector’, and Clare Swirski is recommended for M&A transactions, joint ventures, listings and reorganisation work. Highlights included advising the Singapore arm of China Minsheng Investment on its $2.2bn acquisition of Sirius International Insurance Group, and acting for Just Retirement Group on its £1.7bn merger with Partnership Assurance Group. Other key clients include AXA, MetLife and Aspen Re.

Led by Andrew Holderness, Clyde & Co LLP’s corporate and regulatory insurance team is ‘excellent on all fronts’, and is strong in the life and non-life sector. Gary Thorpe acts for clients across the oil, mining, natural resources, shipping and aviation sectors, and frequently handles matters including mergers and acquisitions, group reorganisations and general corporate issues. Ivor Edwards advises a mix of insurance companies, Lloyd’s vehicles and brokers on a range of non-contentious matters. Key clients include Swiss Re, Aviva, Met Life and China Re. Stephen Browning is well regarded in the Lloyd’s market.

Hogan Lovells International LLP has ‘an outstanding knowledge of the industry environment and practices’, and provides ‘an excellent service that can accommodate small queries through to more complicated ongoing projects’. Charles Rix and Steven McEwan are advising the Equitable Life Assurance Society on the £375m sale of an annuity business to Canada Life; Nicola Evans is acting for Suramericana on its £403m acquisition of Royal Sun Alliance’s Latin America operations; and practice head Tim Goggin is acting for Syncora Guarantee UK on the Part VII transfer of its business to a newly formed UK branch. Victor Fornasier advises on traditional and non-traditional insurance structures, and Helen Chapman is recommended for regulatory matters.

Linklaters LLP provides ‘an excellent client experience; the team responds quickly, and balances the commercial and legal aspects of advice as required’. The well-regarded and ‘technically brilliantVictoria Sander heads the team, and recently advised Friends Life on its £2.4bn longevity swap transaction with the trustees of the Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan. Other key figures include Duncan Barber, who acted for Swiss Re on its £1.6bn acquisition of the Guardian Financial group of companies, and Dan Schuster-Woldan, who attracts praise for his ‘great balance of commercial and technical input’. Schuster-Woldan recently acted for RSA Insurance Group on the £403m sale of its Latin American business to Suramericana. Madhu Jain and James Gardner are also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘impressive team’ advises on the full range of transactional and regulatory matters, and has notable experience in complex restructurings and cross-border M&A. Practice head James Bateson advised Saga on the £26m purchase of motorbike insurance broker Bennetts from BGL Group, and also acted for XL Catlin on its £105m sale of the issued share capital of Box Innovation Group to Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company. David Whear and Bob Haken are ‘very knowledgeable on London market insurance matters’, and recently acted for The Hanover Insurance Group on the $60m sale of its subsidiary, Chaucer. Maria Ross has notable expertise in life assurance and bancassurance transactions, and acts for clients such as AXA and Prudential. New client wins include Investec, Probitas Holdings and Shanghai Insurance Brokers.

Slaughter and May has ‘a wide breadth of knowledge of the market and extensive experience with regulators’, and is ‘excellent for listed company work’. Oliver Wareham leads the department and handles M&A, portfolio transfers and regulatory matters. He is supported by Jonathan Marks, whose track record includes advising on pension scheme de-risking techniques; and Craig Cleaver, who has a strong focus on M&A and risk transfer transactions. Highlights included advising Aviva on the re-risking of the RAC Pension Scheme by way of a £600m longevity swap transaction, and acting for China Re on its $2bn IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE).

Ashurst’s client roster includes a mix of both life and non-life insurers, and the group advises on the full range of matters including M&A, captive insurance, alternative risk transfer arrangements and regulatory compliance issues. Highlights included advising Royal London on documentation relating to derivatives and repo transactions with multiple counterparties. Jonathan Haines and practice head Adam Levitt are assisting Pension Corporation with derivatives agreements for the hedging of its interest rate, which involved, among other things, advising on regulatory market developments.

CMS is ‘very easy to work with; it knows the markets in which it operates, and ensures efficient completion of the task at hand’. The group has notable expertise in the life insurance and pension de-risking sector, acting for numerous major players including Pension Insurance Corporation, Standard Life and MetLife. James Parker is currently advising SCOR Global Life on a $5bn longevity insurance transaction with Sun Life, covering payments for members of Bell Canada’s pension plan. Paul Edmondson has ‘a good knowledge of regulations’, and acted along with Chris Southorn on MetLife’s $16.2 acquisition of Alico.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP fields a team of ‘real professionals with exceptional business experience’ and ‘a very deep understanding of regulatory matters in multiple jurisdictions’. James Scoville focuses on M&A and capital markets transactions involving major insurers, and recently advised AIA Group on its $750m senior notes offering on the HKSE. Jeremy Hill is the other key figure, and is advising Bermuda-based insurers and reinsurers on various transactional matters.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides ‘excellent, insightful knowledge and great value for money’. The practice acts for various insurers and intermediaries on complex restructuring and reinsurance transactions. Geoffrey Maddock has ‘excellent technical knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the issues faced by the client’. In other highlights, Barnaby Hinnigan acted for Willis on its acquisition of an 85% stake in Miller Insurance Services, and on the subsequent proposed disposal of a stake to BB&T.

At Holman Fenwick Willan, Richard Spiller is ‘incredibly smart, with knowledge that extends across an improbably wide range of non-contentious insurance issues’. Spiller is currently advising Ironshore on regulatory approvals required across various jurisdictions, including the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. James Lewis specialises in corporate finance transactions, and Nick Hutton is recommended for M&A, joint ventures and restructurings.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s ‘consistently outstanding’ team attracts praise for its ‘in-depth expertise, responsiveness, solid work ethic and real understanding of the client’s business’. The group advised Everest Re on the establishment of a Lloyd’s syndicate, and acted for HCC Insurance Holdings on its $7.5bn sale of Tokio Marine Holdings. Joseph Ferraro heads the department, which includes Nicholas Bulger.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘responsive, committed’ group ‘consistently provides leading expert knowledge, along with pragmatic and solution-focused advice’. Philip Jarvis is ‘outstanding; an incisive and perceptive lawyer whose experience and intellect sets him apart from others’. Jarvis is acting for insurance giant Aviva on its £5.6bn acquisition of Friends Life Group, and is also advising the client on the £1.7bn disposal of its latent risk portfolio to Swiss Re. Other key clients include Guardian Financial Services, Morgan Stanley and Munich Re.

At DAC Beachcroft LLP, practice head Mathew Rutter specialises in insurance regulatory issues, and recently advised AIG on various regulatory matters and distribution agreements. Mark Nevilleprovides an outstanding level of customer service’, and Adrian Williams is ‘great with insurance M&A deals’.

Paula Gaddum and Simon Brooks head the department at Eversheds LLP, which advised ABI on the operation of its Flood Re Scheme to provide insurance to 350,000 homes at significant risk of flooding. Paul Pugh specialises in corporate law, and Andrew Henderson heads the non-contentious financial services regulation practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘highly responsive’, with ‘good commercial acumen and extensive market knowledge’. The ‘fantasticHannah Brader acted for Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance on the sale by auction of its engineering businesses to Inflexion Private Equity. Nicholas Bradley heads the team, which was joined by David Heffron and Elizabeth Budd from Addleshaw Goddard LLP and Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, respectively.

Clients of RPC’s ‘responsive’ practice rate its ‘invaluable understanding of insurance contracts’. James Mee acted for RFIB Holdings on the sale of its business to Calera Capital, and also advised Ironshore on its establishment of the Patria SPS structure. RSA, AIG and Markel are also key clients.

Shearman & Sterling LLP acted for Fairfax, along with a consortium consisting of ACON and Albright Capital Management, on the consortium’s $253m recommended public offer to acquire APR Energy. Practice head Barney Reynolds advises on regulatory requirements, outsourcings and M&A, among other issues. Thomas Donegan and Laurence Levy are also recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP is noted for its ‘excellent understanding of clients’ requirements’, and ‘always makes sure to address unanswered questions’. Martin Membery and Matthew Deningboth have a sound professional approach, technical understanding and good commercial sense’. Nancy Corbett acted for Brit Insurance on a Bermuda-domiciled sidecar transaction totalling $50m.

Simmons & Simmons has advised extensively on the implementation of Solvency II, and has strong experience in both the life and non-life market. Jennifer Yao and Pollyanna Deane are ‘highly credible practitioners’; Deane has notable expertise in Part VII transfers and new insurance products, and Yao specialises in the Lloyds market and runoff insurance.

Taylor Wessing LLPresponds promptly to queries’ and ‘has a clear understanding of commercial insurance issues’. Peter Kempe advises on the full range of transactional matters, and has notable experience in the corporate finance, private equity and venture capital spheres. Dion Williams has ‘a sound knowledge of the intricacies of the Lloyd’s market’. Key clients include Munich Re, Boston Marks and JC Flowers.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP has ‘a deep understanding of applicable law and regulation’, and is ‘able to provide insight into the best market practice’. Mark Pring and Neil Woolhouse head the practice, and recently acted for Simplyhealth Access on its sale of assets to AXA PPP Healthcare.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s Adam Bogdanor advised Pembroke on five new warranty and indemnity matters, and acted for BLP on twelve new W&I deals. Geraldine Quirk is ‘a market leader in corporate insurance, regulatory and restructuring work’.

Cooley (UK) LLP’s key partners include the ‘knowledgeable and pragmaticChris Finney, Jon Yorke, who advises on all aspects of insolvency, and insurance and reinsurance expert David Kendall. Highlights included advising Charles Taylor and Santam on a number of issues, including a Part VII transfer of Cardrow Insurance.

DLA Piper’s Prakash Paran advises on life and non-life transactions in the insurance sector, and also has experience handling joint ventures, corporate reorganisations and equity capital markets deals. Aviva and AXA are key clients.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s George Swan acted for The Hartford Financial Services Group on the restructuring of businesses into a single runoff entity, and also advised Marsh on its acquisition of Jelf Group. The group’s regulatory expertise spans the antitrust, corruption, tax and consumer protection spheres.

Gowling WLG’s group advises both insurers and policyholders on various transactional and regulatory matters. Practice head David Breslin heads the team and has a strong reputation amongst Bermudan insurers and reinsurers, and frequently advises on policy wording. Key clients include Thomas Miller Holdings and Marsh.

Ince & Co’s ‘highly recommended’ team is headed by Stephen Jarvis, who handles a wide range of insurance-related corporate work, and includes Jennifer Donohue, who specialises in transactional insurance and reinsurance matters, with particular experience in cross-border directives.

Colin Scagell’s team at Mayer Brown International LLP is advising the Government of Gibraltar on its strategy to attract an insurance-linked securities business, and is also acting for Beazley on its proposals to return its management from Ireland to the UK. Andrew McGahey and Alexandria Carr are the other key figures.

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Legal Developments in London for Insurance: corporate and regulatory

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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