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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Insurance > Insurance: corporate and regulatory > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Insurance: corporate and regulatory
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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The 'first-class’ Clifford Chance LLP can boast an ‘utterly rock-solid understanding of the sector’. It provides a full service offering, with ‘a genuine market leader’ in Katherine Coates, who heads the team, as well as an ‘incredible depth and range of knowledge’ across the firm. This is evidenced by Ashley Prebble's advice on the LV= joint venture with Allianz, which will create the UK’s third largest personal insurer with an annual premium income of over £1.7bn. In addition, the ‘pragmatic’ Narind Singh - who is described as ‘gold dust’ by clients - handles insurance regulatory advisory work combined with the skill set of an M&A lawyer, as seen in his work for Deutsche Bank on the process of seeking credit protection insurance for a repackaged book of debt through the use of an SPV mechanism. The team also advised specialist Lloyd’s (re)insurer Neon on its successful application to undertake an insurance-linked securities (ILS) transaction in the UK, the first of its kind under the UK’s new ILS framework.

The corporate insurance team at Clyde & Co LLP is ‘excellent, very responsive and has deep knowledge of the insurance and reinsurance sectors’. This can be seen in a prodigious list of high-profile work, including acting as global adviser to Expedia in relation to the sale of travel insurance-related products via its global businesses around the world, and advising Madison Dearborn Partners on the completion of a multi-million-dollar investment into Sentry Holdings and TIG Topco. Specialising in large, complex M&A deals, the experienced team is particularly well known for its cross-border work, aided by its strength in depth in London as well as the global practice. The ‘extremely knowledgeable and client-focused’ Ivor Edwards leads the team along with Andrew Holderness, ‘the go-to lawyer for Lloyd’s matters', who ‘combines professionalism with practical advice’. In another recent highlight, Stephen Browning led the advice to the management team of Sompo Canopius concerning its sale to a private equity consortium, assisted by William Hogarth.

Hogan Lovells International LLP's ‘extremely knowledgeable and responsive’ practice has a strong track record of advising clients on insurance business transfers under Part VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), M&A, pensions and longevity risk insurance transactions, and insurance business restructurings. Charles Rix heads a team with global expertise and strength in depth; the 12 partners have the ability ‘to turn documents around at short notice using their industry knowledge and expertise to reach sensible commercial positions’, a quality that has attracted some of the leading insurers in the UK, including AXA, Generali, Munich Re, Phoenix, Prudential, Royal London and SCOR. A notable figure in this experienced team is the ‘top-tier’ Steven McEwan, who is ‘responsive, committed and very well respected in the market'. A recent highlight of his is advising Qatar Re on its acquisition of the insurance companies of Markerstudy Group, a UK-based insurance-broking and underwriting group.

‘Outstanding and excellent value for money’, the team at Linklaters LLP ‘is ruthlessly efficient with its time so you never feel that costs are being wasted’. The firm’s global reach gives it expertise in cross-border and emerging markets transactions, and it has advised on over 400 insurance matters globally. These matters cover the full spectrum, from M&A and portfolio transfers on the corporate insurance side to Solvency II and pre-enforcement support at the regulatory end; a particular highlight was advising Prudential on its conflicts of interest policy. The team includes the ‘extremely smart’ Duncan Barber, who is a ‘go-to person on really tricky regulatory issues’, as well as Dan Schuster-Woldan and Kanyaka Ramamurthi, who are ‘second to none for transactional work’.

James Bateson leads Norton Rose Fulbright's ‘extremely knowledgeable’ insurance team, which is continuing to develop, with Nicholas Berry and Noleen John recently promoted to partner. The practice is particularly notable for cross-border M&A and restructurings work, but can also boast a leading life assurance practice headed by corporate finance expert Maria Ross, as well as a UK InsurTech practice, which means it is well positioned to advise clients on the regulatory and legal aspects of this emerging market. However, the firm’s Lloyd’s practice remains its stand-out area, and it demonstrates its expertise and experience by advising across all aspects of the Lloyd’s market. David Whear is a leading practitioner in this field, as shown by his work advising on the disposal (outsisde of Lloyd's) of leading UK managing general agent UK General Insurance to certain funds/vehicles managed by global private equity house J.C. Flowers & Co. Also noteworthy is the ‘very bright and easy to deal with’ Robert (Bob) Haken, who remains at the forefront of developments relating to Solvency II, and financial institutions M&A specialist Matthew Foster who advises insurers and banks.

‘There is strength in depth’ in the ‘outstanding’ team at Slaughter and May, which offers ‘the kind of market insight you would expect of a firm with its client list’, which includes the majority of the major UK life insurers. Recent highlights for the practice, which is particularly noted for large M&A deals, include Jonathan Marks advising Standard Life on its merger with Aberdeen Asset Management, and Robert Chaplin acting for Legal & General on the sale of its mature savings business. Elsewhere in this sector the firm has seen some notable Solvency II work and consistently provides ‘practical and insightful advice’ in this area. Another stand-out member of the team is Craig Cleaver, ‘a great lead partner on complex transactions’, who advised Swiss Re on the sale of a minority stake in ReAssure.

The active team at Allen & Overy LLP has advised on over 80 transactions and regulatory matters in the last three years, with prominent work in both life and non-life insurance. Practice head Philip Jarvis, who specialises in corporate insurance and regulatory matters, is extremely well regarded in the field; this is demonstrated by his advice to Prudential on its sale of £12bn of annuity liabilities to Rothesay Life covering 400,000 policyholders, the largest deal of its kind. In addition, the practice is noted for its advice on significant Solvency II issues, cross-border deals, and pensions buy-ins, as well as its experienced debt capital markets team. Another prominent highlight was advising Scottish Equitable on two significant disposals, the first to Rothesay Life and the second to Legal & General Assurance Society, which were completed in June 2017 and September 2017 respectively. Experienced senior associate Kate McInerney played a crucial role in both.

Ashurst's team ‘has real expertise and a wealth of experience in this area’.  Practice head Adam Levitt provides ‘a rare combination of technical excellence, commercial mind-set and pragmatism' and 'is a force who always delivers for his client'; he spearheads ‘a strong team with depth and breadth’ that offers a full-service capability. The range of work includes providing advice on M&A and portfolio transfers and reinsurance and alternative risk transfer arrangements, as well as on product development, distribution and regulatory issues. The team is also particularly active in evolving areas of insurance law such as cyber insurance, which can be seen in its ongoing strategic advice to the Australian Department of Defence on the purchase of insurance for its acquisition and sustainment projects. The team's ability to provide ‘timely, high-quality advice and insurance expertise’ marks it out as a go-to practice for complex matters, such as advising Gryphon, a new challenger offering protection products via consumer-friendly technology, on its proposed capital structure from a Solvency II perspective, as well as structuring generally. Senior associate Akiko Morioka is also noted.

CMS has seen significant growth in its client base and workflow, and has particularly strengthened its capabilities in the ever-important FinTech market. New clients include Legal & General and Phoenix Life, emphasising the practice's strong offering in life, pensions, and longevity de-risking transactions. The talented team extends beyond experienced practice heads Chris Southorn  and Paul Edmondson, with Thomas Lockley taking the lead in advising Scottish Widows on its high-profile £1.3bn longevity reinsurance transaction with Prudential, and Mike Munro advising RGA on a £900m asset and longevity risk transaction.

The addition of the 'focused and responsive' Clare Swirski from Clifford Chance LLP as a consultant has boosted Debevoise & Plimpton LLP's already impressive team, as her 'technical and practical knowledge of insurance business transfers is superb'. Known for its experience in substantial cross-border matters and high-profile, complex M&A transactions, the team also regularly represents insurers in Europe, Asia and the Bermuda market in debt and equity capital markets transactions, as well as in catastrophe bond and other regulatory capital transactions. Highlights included Benjamin Lyon advising AmTrust on the acquisition of an insurance services provider; he is also leading the ongoing negotiation of local sale agreements and UK, European and US insurance regulatory advice in connection with AIG's global disposal programme.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's ‘full-service offering for insurance clients is of a high standard’, and the experienced team's ‘all-round strength in depth makes it a market leader in the insurance field’. A dedicated de-risking team, which focuses on the provision of pension de-risking products through the insurance market, forms a key part of the practice, and the firm has become highly sought after for its regulatory work, with clients including Canada Life, Scottish Widows and Royal London. Team leader Geoffrey Maddock is ‘eminent in the corporate insurance field’ and is seen as ‘a market leader for his combination of market expertise with wider knowledge and wisdom’. This is demonstrated by highlights such as his advice to Canada Life on the £3.4bn longevity-risk programme for Marsh & McLennan’s defined benefit pension scheme.

As well as being among a select group of firms which have a reputation for advising on the regulatory and transactional aspects of business at Lloyd's, RPC has an integrated team, led by Mark Crichard, which advises insurance clients on their developing technology needs and on both technology and business outsourcing. This is part of what makes the firm ‘particularly commercial and responsive’, as well as demonstrating its ability ‘to show good initiative’ in the market. ‘Very capable and bright’ practice head James Mee is ‘a pleasure to deal with’, and acted as lead counsel to Citynet Insurance Brokers on its sale to Carlyle-backed PIB. Another key highlight for the firm was Matthew Griffith's advice to QBE and Compre on the Part VII transfer of QBE’s share of the Ridgwell Fox & Partners pool legacy reinsurance business to a Finnish member of the Compre group.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP has advised some of the major players in the insurance industry on corporate and regulatory matters, and the team continues to grow with the internal promotion of Jennifer Tait to partner, as well as several hires at associate level, which has helped to strengthen its already ‘deep knowledge of the insurance and reinsurance sectors’. The firm’s diverse recent highlights include high-profile cross-border M&A deals such acting for Assurant in its purchase of The Warranty Group, one of the most significant personal lines insurance transactions of the year globally, in which Andrew Tromans took the lead. In another key deal, practice head Joseph Ferraro, admired for his ‘excellent industry awareness and ability to find solutions to difficult issues’, was instructed by Aquiline Capital Partners in its 2017 sale of Simply Business, the UK’s biggest online SME business insurance provider.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP continued to grow its experienced team in the lead up to and in the wake of the 2018 merger between Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave, with senior associate Martin Griffiths, ‘a future leading light in this area’, joining from Clifford Chance LLP. Recent highlights include practice head Adam Bogdanor leading the advice to R&Q on its acquisition of the corporate members of Lloyd’s Syndicate 1110 from ProSight Specialty Insurance and the novation of the managing agency of the syndicate to R&Q Managing Agency (RQMA). The team is also acting for Chubb as W&I insurer on the acquisition by BUPA of Oasis Dental Care, the UK’s leading private dental provider, in a transaction totalling £835m. Regulatory and restructuring expert Geraldine Quirk is also a key member of the team.

With a strong international presence and one of the largest global insurance/reinsurance practices, DAC Beachcroft LLP has the influence and depth of expertise to bring in work from most of the UK's top insurers. In addition to this, it is a partner of choice for bodies such as the Association of British Insurers, the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters, the Law Commission, and the British Insurance Brokers' Association. The firm separates itself from the crowd with a particularly strong data protection practice, which makes up a core part of its insurance advisory practice. This cyber risk team is an industry leader for contentious data protection issues and data breaches arising out of cyber incidents, an example of which can be seen in the team's support and advice to Ecclesiastical on compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation, led by senior associate Jade Kowalski. In another stand-out matter, Mark Neville acted for HSBC on a ten-year distribution deal with Aviva, one of the largest transactions of its kind signed in the UK.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's practice covers the full breadth of transactional and regulatory advice, and also boasts a strong technology team acting on FinTech and InsurTech corporate transactions. The ‘responsive and personable’ Hugo Laing ‘has deep knowledge of the law’; he handled high-profile matters including advising Legal & General on longevity insurance covering £800m of pensioner longevity risk in the Scottish Hydro-Electric Pension Scheme, the first transaction to use Legal & General’s “UK-based pass through" structure to transfer longevity risk to the end reinsurer. The team also advised Markel on an unusual matter involving its acquisition of EC Insurance Company, a specialty line insurer providing insurance to contractors and affinity groups. Manchester-based Paula Gaddum is also a key member of the team.

Pinsent Masons LLP's team was significantly strengthened by the addition of experienced corporate and insurance specialist Hammad Akhtar from Ashurst to lead the firm’s corporate practice. This hire further cements the team's strength in depth, allowing it to compete with the full-service insurance teams of other London firms. Skills across the board include major distribution deals, Part VII transfers and complex pensions buy-outs/buy-ins, but a particular highlight in M&A was advising Zurich on the high-profile sale of its UK workplace pensions and savings business; Hannah Brader took the lead in this matter.

Simmons & Simmons provides ‘consistently high service levels as well as depth of industry knowledge’, and offers ‘a stand-out insurance and regulatory team with a wealth of experience’. This experience comes in a range of areas, from re-organisations, insurance business transfers and building innovative risk structures to regulation of general insurers and M&A; in these sectors the practice can ‘provide spot-on advice and has the ability to come up with creative ideas where required to remove roadblocks’. In an example of the innovative work the team specialises in, practice head Pollyanna Deane assisted unconventional insurance start-up Laka with the Financial Conduct Authority authorisation process and its negotiations with its insurance provider, assisted by associate Laura Allen. However, the area where the practice most sets itself apart is FinTech; it has set up a fund to help early-stage FinTech and InsurTech businesses solve some of the legal problems they often encounter at the outset. The first recipient was Cuvva, which was supported in its negotiations with its insurance provider.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP puts an emphasis on structuring acquisitions, disposals and mergers, joint ventures, asset transactions and portfolio transfers, while providing a broad range of regulatory advice. In addition, the practice is heavily involved in industry planning and contingency planning around the response to Brexit. The insurance team is headed by Robert Stirling, whose extensive work highlights included advising Phoenix Group on its proposed £2.93bn acquisition of Standard Life Assurance and strategic partnership with Standard Life Aberdeen, as well as leading the advice to TDR Capital and MGM Advantage Holdings in connection with the sale of the MGM group of companies to Canada Life. European counsel George Belcher and associate Owen Ross are also noted.

The international service at Cooley (UK) LLP ‘has always been excellent’ and clients receive ‘quick response times with detailed and to-the-point advice’. The team offers ‘a very in-depth understanding’ of the sector to clients in the London and European markets, North and South America, Bermuda, South Africa, and Hong Kong. These include, among others, Lloyd's syndicates, P&I club managers, trade associations, insolvency practitioners, and brokers. At the helm is the ‘extremely knowledgeable, efficient and effective’ Mark Everiss, who recently took the lead in advising Rollings Butt, the administrator of insolvent reinsurance company MedRe, in relation to all matters arising from the insolvency. Jon Yorke and David Kendall are also key members of the team.

A high-quality practice with a strong focus on international matters, Dentons deals with a number of wide-ranging regulatory matters relating to corporate governance, product development, ILS, policy wording issues and the ever-growing InsurTech area. It is particularly active in advising on complex cross-border deals, especially in the USA, Latin America and Eastern Europe, with work including M&A, restructuring and joint ventures. Among several significant new clients, the team can boast adding one of the biggest insurers in the world to its roster, demonstrating its quality of work and reputation in the market. Global general insurance specialist Martin Mankabady heads the practice.

DLA Piper prides itself on its geographical reach and value for money, as well as a deep bench that allows for a full-service offering. The practice covers both life and non-life insurance matters, including cross-border M&A, insurance group reorganisations, longevity arrangements, Part VII transfers, restructuring, Solvency II and other regulatory advice. Recent highlights include acting for AON on the acquisition of Henderson Insurance Brokers, a leading insurance intermediary group. The advice was spearheaded by team head Prakash Paran, who also acted as lead counsel for Compre on the acquisition of certain legacy insurance businesses from Generali’s UK and US branches. Melanie James is also noted.

Gowling WLG's corporate insurance practice focuses on M&A and joint ventures, particularly specialising in innovative, bespoke policy wording. Most team members have a litigation background, as well as being non-contentious insurance lawyers, meaning they are well placed to identify risk. Samantha Holland, who focuses on advising policyholder clients on all aspects of transactional insurance, was promoted to partner in 2017 and now leads the team, which also includes Michael Lacey, an expert in non-contentious insurance, M&A and joint ventures in insurance and financial services.

HFW provides advice on a broad range of insurance and corporate issues relating to M&A transactions, the Lloyd's market, non-traditional risk transfers, and domestic and cross-border regulation at all stages. Richard Spiller heads the team, which also includes experienced corporate and commercial lawyer Nick Hutton and corporate finance specialist James Lewis.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s team has experience in investigations and enforcement as well as transactional matters, including M&A, capital raising, and sophisticated structured finance. FinTech is also a significant area for the practice, which recently advised EU Lotto on its €120m jackpot protection insurance and reinsurance policies, and subsequent novation of such policies to Fortuna Insurance PCC. Practice head Colin Scagell, who led on this matter, also acted for Beazley on the sale of its accident and health insurance business in Australia.

Shearman & Sterling LLP's team is equipped to handle significant cross-border work, thanks to the firm's international presence, and is particularly prevalent in the regulatory field. A key area of expertise and activity for the firm is Brexit preparation and advice. Barney Reynolds and Frankfurt-based Andreas Löhdefink lead the practice.

Taylor Wessing LLP provides extensive, in-depth knowledge of the commercial insurance and reinsurance markets globally. The market-focused practice has expertise in key areas including insurance acquisitions and transfers, new structures and alternative capital arrangements, claims and disputes, policy wordings, and regulatory issues. It also boasts a dedicated team that specialises in cyber and related IT risk, and offers targeted data breach security coaching for the insured on behalf of insurers. The team of regulatory specialists advises clients in each key insurance sector on all aspects of regulation, particularly market entry, transactions, and cross-border issues; the international team is well known in the Lloyd’s market. Jonathan Rogers heads the practice.

With a client list that includes Barclays, Lloyds, TSB, Nationwide and Skipton Building Society, Addleshaw Goddard is particularly well known for advising banks and building societies on commercial and regulatory issues relating to the distribution of insurance products. Brian McDonnell leads the insurance practice, which brings together corporate, commercial, regulatory and contentious specialists, including Richard Wise. The hire of corporate specialist Peter Wood, who joined in September from Pinsent Masons LLP, bolstered the team.

Burges Salmon LLP has a strong offering for regulatory work in the insurance sector and is noted for advising clients on transactional insurance. The practice is also at the forefront of a number of innovative projects, particularly in relation to driverless cars, which will almost certainly have far-reaching consequences for insurers going forward. Chris Jackson advised South Gloucestershire Council in connection with Venturer, a UK-funded research project set up to investigate public acceptance of driverless cars, and the team also acted for AXA in relation to Flourish, a similar research project. Kari McCormick heads the team, and brings experience and expertise in insurance coverage matters, including insurance issues arising out of corporate and banking transactions such as warranty and indemnity insurance, credit insurance, and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance. She recently acted for major client Ecclesiastical Insurance Office on a number of agreements relating to its insurance services.

‘Dedication to clients and an ability to manage complex situations’ are the cornerstones of Carter Perry Bailey LLP's practice. At the niche insurance and reinsurance firm, ‘service is always good and of a personal nature and the firm has great communication at all stages of work’. This is helped by the dedicated and focused nature of the team, allowing for all matters to be handled by a hands-on partner. Practice head Stephen Carter has over 30 years’ experience in the sector, specialising in reinsurance and insurance coverage, including international arbitration, litigation and (re)insurance contract drafting.  However, the whole team can boast industry knowledge and expertise born of substantial in-house experience, and an international service bolstered by being the UK member of Insuralex, the leading international group of specialist insurance and reinsurance law firms. It also has strength in transactional matters, recently enhanced by specialist employment lawyer Joseph Sutton joining as a consultant.

DWF combines ‘excellent response times’ with ‘very knowledgeable, solid and practical commercial advice’. The team has particular expertise in advising on insurance market commercial operations such as distribution and outsourcing arrangements, as well as bespoke insurance policy terms for commercial insureds, which is complemented by its significant involvement in consolidation in the UK general insurance intermediary market. Recent highlights include advising Hannover Re in relation to the acquisition of Argenta Holdings, which owns various companies operating in the Lloyd's insurance market. The advice was led by Douglas Howie, who co-heads the practice along with compliance, regulatory and operational specialist Jeremy Irving.

Boutique corporate/commercial insurance practice EC3 Legal has handled an impressive quantity of instructions: 75 transactions worth collectively in excess of £1bn. The addition of Sara Ager in 2016 meant the firm was able to offer a full range of regulatory and strategic advice in addition to facilitating major transactions, including M&A, portfolio transfers and distribution agreements, and now with the recent hire of senior associate Helena Coates from Clyde & Co LLP, it has again strengthened its depth of expertise, particularly in the Bermuda market and cross-border issues. The growing team of specialists is headed by Lloyd’s market expert David Coupe and recently attracted instructions from two of the top ten InsureTech companies in the UK.

Ince combines specialist industry knowledge, geographic reach and experience, enabling it to provide M&A and transactional advice in both domestic and cross-border matters. The firm acts for a range of insurers, reinsurers, brokers, run-off companies/discontinued businesses, and large financial institutions. For many of these clients a particular recent focus is Brexit planning. Kiran Soar is a noted member of the team; he primarily focuses on property and liability insurance, reinsurance and run-off claims, acting for clients based in London, the US, Bermuda and Europe.

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Legal Developments in the UK

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