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  1. Insurance: insolvency and restructuring
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Clyde & Co LLP’s ‘first-class’ team acts for a wide range of major insurers, and is a frequent adviser to the Lloyd’s market. The ‘excellent’ Geraldine Quirk is ‘a market leader in corporate insurance, regulatory and restructuring work’, and is ‘great to work with’. Stephen Browning assisted Barbican Insurance Group with arrangements to manage a new Lloyd’s syndicate, and acted for White Mountains Insurance Group on its $2.2bn sale of Sirius International Insurance Group. Andrew Holderness heads the team.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has notable expertise acting for the FSCS in insurance company defaults; and acting for policyholders on solvent schemes of arrangement and Part VII transfers. In other key mandates, practice head Laurence Elliott advised the provisional liquidators of Independent Insurance Company on all aspects of its liquidation, and Christopher Foster acted for Barbican Managing Agency in commercial court proceedings concerning a number of professional indemnity policies. Kevin Pullen is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP has a strong track record advising insurers and reinsurers, Lloyd’s participants, banks and intermediaries on the full range of restructuring matters. Department head Joe Bannister is continuing to assist the administrators with the schemes of arrangement for OIC Run-Off Limited and The London and Overseas Insurance Company. Other notable clients include KPMG, SCOR and Lloyd’s Banking Group. Nick Atkins, Tim Goggin and Charles Rix are also key practitioners.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘excellent’ team ‘can cut through difficult and unusual claims issues with clarity and authority’ and is ‘very proactive in dealing with issues as they arise’. Practice head Devi Shah advises on contentious insolvency and restructuring issues, and ‘is a joy to work with, always delivering on technical issues’. Key clients include ACE, Ernst & Young, Zurich and Liberty Syndicates.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘solid transactional, regulatory and restructuring advice’ to its wide-ranging, cross-border client base. Key figures include Maria Ross, who specialises in life assurance and bancassurance related matters; David Whear, who has solid expertise in the Lloyd’s market; and Bob Haken, who focuses on regulation and restructuring in the runoff sector. Highlights included advising Travelers Management on the $88.5m strategic restructuring of its UK operations in order to maximise its capital and operational efficiencies.

RPC’s ‘pragmatic, knowledgeable and responsive’ group provides ‘strong advice related to the interpretation of relatively new and untested regulations’. Key areas of expertise include solvent schemes of arrangement, part VII transfers and exit mechanisms in the runoff field. Department head Vivien Tyrell is ‘an extremely well-respected lawyer who considers each case on its own merits’, and has ‘a very wide knowledge of insurance insolvency matters’. RSA, Partner Re and Argo are key clients.

Led by Alexander Wood, Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ ‘very strong’ team ‘knows the market really well, which makes all the difference in relation to the pivotal moments in a deal’. The firm handles a wide range of issues on behalf of lenders, debtors, sponsors and insolvency practitioners including Advent International and The T&N Asbestos Trustee Company. Mark Lawford and Adam Plainer are the other key names to note.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘very reliable’ team is ‘highly knowledgeable about the complexities of insurance insolvency. David Leibowitz is ‘absolutely brilliant – very clever, and always delivers for his clients’. Highlights included acting for Markel International Insurance Company on the £60m disposal of its business to RiverStone Insurance (UK).

Clifford Chance’s ‘well-regarded’ group is led by Philip Hertz, who handles the full range of domestic and cross-border insolvency and restructuring matters, and has particular expertise in schemes of arrangement. David Steinberg left to join Stevens & Bolton LLP.

Cooley (UK) LLP’s advice ‘shows a high level of understanding of the prevailing regulatory and legal environment’. Jon Yorke and David Kendall head the group, which advises on all aspects of insolvency across a wide range of industries.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Nicholas Bradley is ‘an excellent choice for high-value insolvency and restructuring work’. Bruno Geiringer and associate Chris Riach are ‘particularly well-informed and attentive’; Geiringer has strong business transfers experience, and acted for Canada Life in its £875m acquisition of Equitable Life’s annuity business. Other clients include Sterling Insurance Group, British Gas, Allianz UK and Aviva.

Sidley Austin LLP has a ‘really strong specialist group’ with ‘a huge depth of knowledge and experience in insurance insolvency’. Martin Membery is acting for various insurer clients on a range of PLA Handbook/FCA Rulebook requirements. Consultant Nigel Montgomery is ‘a first-rate lawyer who knows the area well’, and is ‘calm and courteous even when under pressure’. Adriana Cotter ‘provides discreet, efficient and very shrewd support’.

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Legal Developments in London for Insurance: insolvency and restructuring

  • 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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