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United States > Industry focus > Insurance: non-contentious > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: non-contentious
  2. Leading lawyers

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘one of the go-to firms for non-contentious work’, having as it does ‘a premier insurance department’ that is ‘excellent in all elements of the practice area’. The team advises a broad spectrum of clients including insurers, reinsurers, private equity funds and asset managers on matters including M&A, capital markets deals and regulatory issues. Practice co-chair Nicholas Potter recently advised insurers on several cross-border deals, including acting for Exor during its $6.9bn acquisition of Bermuda-based reinsurer, PartnerRe. He also assisted StanCorp Financial Group in its sale to Meiji Yasuda Life for $5bn. Fellow co-chair John Vasily and David Grosgold advised AXA on an agreement with SulAmérica to acquire its Brazilian large industrial and commercial risks insurance business for R$135m. Clients recommend ‘excellent negotiator and trusted adviserMarilyn Lion, regulatory expert Thomas Kelly and Alexander Cochran, who is experienced in pension risk transfers and recently assisted Prudential with several pension risk transactions. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘extremely strong practice’ is ‘at the top of the list’ and ‘one of the market leaders in representing clients in the insurance and financial services industries’. The practice leads in property and casualty issues, especially in the catastrophe bond space - New York-based Michael Madigan and Chicago-based Michael Pinsel lead the firm’s property and casualty alternative risk transfer practice, which recently represented Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool in its $100m Bosphorus Ltd catastrophe bond. Michael Goldman and the ‘practical, energetic and dynamicPerry Shwachman, both based in Chicago, lead the global insurance and financial services group; Goldman recently assisted Kemper Corporation in a multistate unclaimed property audit, and Shwachman is representing Genworth Financial in the sale of its lifestyle protection insurance business. New York-based Jeff Liebmann recently advised MassMutual on a $1.25bn pension risk transfer from Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Other clients on the firm’s roster include ACE, Deutsche Bank and AIG. Jeremy Watson in Chicago made the partnership.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s transactional expertise covers M&A, financings, restructurings, regulatory advice and reinsurance deals on a national and international scale, where it advises insurers, agents, brokers and reinsurance intermediaries. William Torchiana is global coordinator of the firm’s non-contentious insurance practice, and recently led advice to Allianz in its agreement to sell the Fireman’s Fund US personal lines insurance business to ACE for $365m. Marion Leydier is deputy coordinator, and worked with Robert Reeder on AIG’s $7.6bn senior note offering. Leydier, Rodgin Cohen and Andrew Gerlach also advised ACE on a $28.3bn agreement to acquire Chubb. Stephen Kotran, who leads the insurance M&A team, advised Western World Insurance Group on its $690m sale to a subsidiary of Validus Holdings. Other clients include AXA, MetLife and Prudential. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York, and the firm also has regulatory experts based in Washington DC.

The ‘outstanding team’ at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has ‘an exceptional command of the M&A space’ with ‘knowledge that is deep, comprehensive, current and invariably reliable’, positioning it as ‘one of the premier firms in the area’. The practice covers transactional matters, capital markets deals, insurance-linked securities and regulatory issues for insurers, reinsurers, private equity investors, funds and banks. The practice co-heads are Alexander Dye, who ‘has the ability to calmly and insightfully provide counsel on a variety of issues’, and the ‘sophisticated, thoughtful and smartJohn Schwolsky. Dye led advice to New York Life Investment Management on the sale of its Retirement Plan Services business to a Manulife Financial subsidiary, and Schwolsky represented Assurant in the sale of its employee benefits business to Sun Life for $975m. Michael Groll recently led advice to HCC Insurance Holdings on its $7.5bn acquisition of Tokio Marine Holdings. Other clients include Allstate, MetLife and Aegon. Rajab Abbassi and Leah Campbell are also recommended. Benjamin Nixon and Matthew Stern made the partnership in 2015, and specialize in capital markets matters and insurance-linked securities, respectively. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP excels in transactions at a domestic and international level, advising insurers and reinsurers on M&A, financings, company formations, restructurings and reinsurance issues. Todd Freed, who leads the firm’s insurance M&A practice, is recommended along with Robert Sullivan, who advised Humana on its $37bn merger with Aetna. Other recent examples include representing XL Group in its $4.2bn acquisition of Catlin Group and the related acquisition financing; advising Credit Suisse as financial adviser to Tokio Marine Holdings on its $7.5bn acquisition of HCC Insurance Holdings; and assisting Centene Corporation with its $6.8bn acquisition of Health Net. The team also provides regulatory advice. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

The ‘superb’ practice at Mayer Brownhas both excellent industry and regulatory knowledge and skills’, combined with being ‘responsive and sensitive to client needs’. The department advises insurers, reinsurers, banks and brokers across transactional, capital markets, regulatory and alternative risk transfer issues. ‘Wonderful partnerJames Woods and Stephen Rooney co-chair the practice from New York; Rooney recently advised Bristol-Myers Squibb in a pension de-risking transaction, transferring $1.4bn in liabilities to Prudential. Woods has been active on the regulatory side and recently advised the Worldwide Broker Network on FATCA rules and its implications on brokers, and also advised several clients including Blue Shield of California on cybersecurity issues and cyber risk insurance. Chicago-based Edward Best recently assisted ACE with a senior note issuance totaling $800m. The ‘high-performingDavid Alberts in New York is recommended for his transactional expertise, and Chicago-based Larry Hamilton is ‘knowledgeable on the regulatory side’.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s ‘excellent and nimble’ team is ‘focused on insurance issues and has substantial legal expertise in the field’. The New York-based practice advises domestic and international clients on a range of transactional and regulatory mandates including M&A, capital markets issues and pension risk transfers. Top clients include Arch Insurance Company, Deutsche Bank and Reservoir Capital, which the firm recently advised on the merger of a Prosperity subsidiary (an affiliate of Reservoir) with a holding company formed by SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company. ‘Responsive and proactive’ practice head Bernhardt Nadell has notable experience in life insurance work and recently advised ORIX and its subsidiary ORIX Life on the $963m acquisition of all of the shares in Hartford Life Insurance K.K. from The Hartford Financial Service Group. Of counsel William Latza is recommended for property, casualty and regulatory matters. Special counsel Matthew Feig joined Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s team advises clients including Blackstone, Munich Re and The Hartford on the full spectrum of transactional and regulatory mandates including reinsurance issues, product development, private equity matters and insurance-linked securities, and has substantial experience in M&A. New York-based Cynthia Shoss and Washington DC-based Stephen Roth jointly lead the practice. Shoss recently represented Pan-American Life as regulatory counsel in a merger agreement with Mutual Trust Financial Group; he and James Dwyer advised Exor on an agreement with PartnerRe to acquire all of its outstanding common shares for $6.9bn. Roth is recognized for his product and regulatory work, and recently advised a coalition of 29 US life insurance companies on regulatory proposals relating to variable annuity policies. Washington DC-based David Massey is recommended for transactional work, and Dodie Kent joined the firm in New York from an in-house role at AXA to strengthen Roth’s products team.

Clifford Chance’s team represents insurers, reinsurers, private equity firms and hedge funds, and has notable experience in start-ups and alternative capital reinsurance ventures, with expertise in M&A, risk retention issues, restructurings and regulatory matters. Practice co-head Gary Boss recently advised on the formation of Fidelis Insurance Holdings, assisting the client in raising $1.5bn in capital. Watford Re continues to be a client - the department helped with the formation and establishment of the Bermuda-based reinsurer in 2014. The team is also recommended for its cross-border strength; clients include the Bank of Luxembourg, Swiss Re and CM International Holding PTE, which practice co-head Nicholas Williams advised on its acquisition of Sirius International from White Mountains for $2.2bn. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York. Joe Cosentino joined Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s strength lies in M&A and capital markets work, advising insurers and reinsurers on transactions, issuances and underwritings. The team also works closely with the firm’s tax lawyers, and has a strong regulatory element to the practice, which provides Dodd-Frank assistance. Recent highlights include assisting PartnerRe during its $6.9bn acquisition by Exor and advising Aetna on its $37bn acquisition of Humana, as well as assisting Aetna with a senior note offering totaling $750m. Key figures in the department include Richard Sandler, who is leader of the firm’s global capital markets and corporate governance practices, and capital markets expert Joseph Hall, who recently advised Voya as underwriter in connection with block trades totaling $2.6bn. M&A specialist Phillip Mills and Jason Kyrwood, who specializes in corporate finance transactions, are also recommended. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Dentons has an ‘incredibly strong team, with an excellent level of service, high responsiveness and exceptional industry knowledge’. The department is particularly strong on the West coast and is ‘among the best in the practice area in California’. The practice has substantial regulatory experience and recent highlights include representing Dhando Holdings as regulatory counsel on issues arising from the acquisition of Stonetrust Commercial Insurance Company. Kara Baysinger and Bruce Baty co-head the practice from San Francisco and Kansas City, respectively. Baysinger recently represented Genworth Life and RiverSource in an administrative hearing relating to market conduct; Baty was appointed special deputy receiver of Lumbermen’s Underwriting Alliance once the client was placed into rehabilitation. Clients also recommend Matthew Gaul in New York, the ‘outstanding’ Dan Brown and the ‘strong’ Kenneth Schnoll (both based in San Francisco), and Chicago-based Michael Kasdin; Kasdin is recommended for regulatory mandates. Los Angeles-based Stephanie Duchene made the partnership in 2015.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s ‘excellence is self-evident’, providing clients with ‘effective responsiveness and industry knowledge’ across a variety of transactional and regulatory issues including M&A, capital markets mandates and international regulatory advice. Michael Murphy leads the firm’s insurance and reinsurance practice, while William Marcoux heads up the insurance transactions and regulation team. Recent highlights for Marcoux include advising Best Doctors on the sale of an international health insurer and assisting clients with reinsurer formations and capital raising. Clients also recommend the ‘professional, distinct and supportivePaul Chen, who splits his time between New York and Silicon Valley. Chen led advice to Fosun International in its $464m investment into Ironshore, and the subsequent $1.8bn acquisition of the Bermuda-based reinsurer. Other clients include AIG, Zurich and Swiss Re. Mark Deckman made partner in 2015. All attorneys are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s ‘commercial and strong advice leads to an excellent level of service, which is responsive, attentive and knowledgeable’. The practice is particularly experienced in assisting clients in the life and property and casualty space, and also has substantial expertise advising health insurers on regulatory issues, international clients and monoline insurers. Milwaukee-based practice head Thomas Hrdlick recently advised Kemper Corporation on its acquisition of Alliance United Group and the related regulatory issues. Other highlights for the department include assisting TPG Capital in its acquisition of The Warranty Group for $1.5bn, and advising the National Council on Compensation Insurance on a rate filing issue. Clients also recommend ‘pragmatic, responsive and robust negotiator’ Kevin Fitzgerald in Milwaukee, who ‘always does an excellent job’, and Tallahassee-based Austin Neal, who ‘is brilliant with regulatory matters, and is able to easily anticipate issues’.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP focuses on transactional mandates, advising national and international insurance companies in the property, casualty, life and health sectors on M&A and capital market transactions. Recent work includes assisting Anbang Insurance Group with its $1.6bn purchase of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, and advising The Phoenix Companies on its proposed sale to Nassau Reinsurance Group Holdings for $217m. On the capital markets side, the firm recently represented Travelers in a senior note offering totaling $400m, and advised Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo Securities as underwriters of Humana’s $1.75bn debt offering. Key names in the practice include Gary Horowitz and Lee Meyerson. Special counsel Steven DeLott and Andrew Keller are recommended for regulatory matters and capital market issues, respectively. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

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