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Insurance M&A activity has continued at a steady pace following the relative inactivity of 2014. Pressures on the cost of capital and regulatory difficulties have continued to drive consolidation among both insurers and brokers, and lack of product development is expected to drive further consolidation within the reinsurance market, particularly in Bermuda.

Coverage disputes remain highly active on the contentious insurance side, the most prevalent among these being claims related to professional indemnity, directors and officer’s liability; property damage; and major catastrophes. Sanctions introduced in Russia, and the ongoing political turmoil in Eastern Europe has led to a continued stream of trade credit and political risk work, and the marine and energy sectors have also seen significant activity. On the policyholder side, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy LLP have notable strength in political risk claims, credit insurance and property damage, and Clyde & Co LLP, whose client roster includes almost every major global insurer and reinsurer, has strong expertise in niche areas such as contingency, bloodstock and cyber liability.

Regulatory changes continue to be one of the main risks facing insurers in the market, particularly when adapting to risk-based capital regimes. The new Insurance Act, which was passed in February 2015 but does not come into effect until July 2016, is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the wider insurance market, and will have important consequences for policyholders. This has increased demand for advisory work in relation to its implementation, particularly in relation to the placing of new insurance law business. The implementation of Solvency II has changed the way insurers manage risk and regulatory capital, and demand for Solvency II-related advice remains high. The uncertainty surrounding regulatory changes has led to much work involving reorganisation, consolidation and occasionally exits from markets and lines of business.

The Jackson Reforms of April 2013 continue to impact clinical negligence and personal injury practices, with risk assessment and increased focus on cost budgeting being the major issues. The reforms, along with the increase in court fees, have resulted in less lower-value claims being taken to trial, and has also led to an increased interest in arbitration. Fieldfisher, Leigh Day and Kingsley Napley LLP have acted on some of the most high-profile clinical negligence claims of the past year, and Capsticks LLP, Hempsons and Kennedys continue to be highly rated on the defendant side.

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Legal Developments in London for Overview

  • 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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