Insurance in Australia

Clyde & Co LLP’s global footprint allows its Australian insurance group to act on a wide range of cross-border and domestic front- and back-end insurance matters. The team is prominent in the regulatory insurance space, where it most recently handled dual investigations by the ASIC and the Financial Services Royal Commission for Freedom Insurance. Dean Carrigan is a key contact for clients seeking assistance with regulatory issues as well as corporate insurance issues. John Moran handles work relating to D&O insurance, professional indemnity and financial lines, but also stands out for his specialism in cyber-incident response. Marcus O’Brien heads up the national group from Melbourne, and specialises in commercial insurance litigation, including class actions. The team has strength in contentious insurance matters below partner level - senior associate Dan Robinson is noted in the area of coverage litigation. Senior associate Yvonne Lam is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Marcus O’Brien

Testimonials

Outstanding level of service and capability

I feel confident when I receive advice on any insurance matter from the team. Team members’ commitment, work and advice was beyond reproach

Excellent project managers as well as lawyers — approachable and able to explain things clearly, simplifying legal jargon when needed

Dean Carrigan is an outstanding lawyer with deep knowledge and expertise. Dean works tirelessly when required to do so and is always available. Without doubt, the best lawyer I have met in my decades-long career

Yvette Lam is a highly capable young lawyer with outstanding project management and organisational skills

Key clients

Axa Corporate Solutions

Pinsent Masons (Australia)/ Travelers UK

Work highlights

  • Acting for insurer Axa Corporate Solutions on a cross-jurisdictional dispute with Weir Services Australia Pty.
  • Advising Pinsent Masons (Australia) and Travelers UK on defending an injunction  brought against a Spanish contractor.
  • Assisted an insurance company with its response to the Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s inquiry into the insurance sector.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ insurance department is headed up by the ‘strong insurance litigatorMark Darwin, Peter Holloway (‘a technically brilliant lawyer, who speaks from experience’), and the ‘superbMichael Vrisakis. The group handles a full spectrum of issues, thereby focusing on two main streams of work — general insurance advice, and insurer-focused work for general and life insurers and reinsurers. The group’s client base is diverse and consists of high-profile policyholders, insurers and reinsurers. The practice stands out for its experience across a number of sectors including mining, energy, infrastructure, financial services, and consumer products. Special counsel Guy Narburgh is singled out for providing ‘sensible and pragmatic advice, particularly in managing indemnification issues’. Since his arrival from Ashurst in 2018, special counsel Philip Hopley has handling matters on the insurer side and stands out for his cross-border experience. Special counsel Claire Machin departed from the Sydney office to pursue an in-house career.  Brisbane-based solicitor Travis Gooding is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Mark Darwin; Peter Holloway; Michael Vrisakis

Testimonials

Team members are very approachable, and have the great ability to simplify complex insurance issues for clients without any knowledge of insurance

The team is very commercially focused and remains concentrated on the substance of the matters rather than getting distracted by matters of minor form

The team is always seeking to achieve the best possible outcome for the client

The approach of all team members is simple, clear and transparent

Mark Darwin is focused on achieving a quick resolution to the issue at hand

Peter Holloway knows the key risks in the industry due to his prior experience – he has seen it all before

Key clients

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia

DMS Maritime Services Pty

Toga Group

Lendlease

Mount Gibson Iron

Macquarie Group

Westpac

Suncorp Group

BT Financial Group

Bank of Queensland

Challenger Limited

ING Australia

Work highlights

  • Represented The Commonwealth Bank of Australia on its recovery of $135m from its professional indemnity insurers in respect of a regulatory penalty.
  • Successfully acted for DMS Maritime Services Pty, a subsidiary of Serco Group, on a dispute with Serco’s primary insurer regarding a destroyed navy patrol vessel.
  • Advising the Toga Group of companies on negotiations with insurer AIG concerning compensation for damage to the Adina Brisbane Hotel owned by Toga.
  • Representing Lendlease in relation to recoveries under a first-party professional indemnity insurance policy.
  • Advised Macquarie Group on insurance and risks for its innovative unsolicited proposal to the NSW Governement for developing a Martin Place metro station.

At Kennedys, the sizeable insurance department handles a wide range of issues for global insurers and reinsurers, as well the clients’ insureds. The team has a particular strength in insurance litigation together with mediation and arbitration. Other areas of focus for the group include indemnity issues, risk management, and commercial and regulatory advice. Also of note is its work advising a leading domestic insurer on the development and implementation of a claims processing platform. The group is also handling work in the medical malpractice and healthcare space. The practice is led by Matt Andrews, who has notable international experience acting for national and multinational clients. Veronica Chapman's diverse client base includes insurers, as well as accountants, auditors, health professionals, construction and finance industry professionals. Raylee Hartwell advises on complex issues regarding professional indemnity, clinical negligence, and general liability claims. Clients also single out James Melvin and senior associate Sarah Waddington, both of whom are based in Sydney. Special counsel Jonathon Lees joined the Sydney office from Wotton + Kearney in June 2019.

Practice head(s):

Matt Andrews

Testimonials

The team is approachable, knowledgeable, and is always looking to achieve commercial outcomes

James Melvin is always focused on his client’s needs and looking to provide early commercial advice

Sarah Waddington is technically strong and provides very clear legal assistance

Key clients

AXA/ XL

Dual Australia

CGU Insurance

Lawcover Pty

Chubb

American International Group (AIG)

Allianz

HDI Global SE

Arch Insurance (Europe)

Antares Underwriting

Swiss Re

Work highlights

  • Acting for AIG as insurer to the Vodafone Group on a coverage dispute, arising from costs associated with a commercial dispute between Vodafone and Optus.
  • Acting for multiple insurers of Koolan Iron Ore on a subrogated recovery against GHD Pty, alleging breach of duty, and misleading and deceptive conduct.
  • Defending Food Processing Equipment Pty in a negligence lawsuit filed by Hilltop Meats Pty.
  • Defending the insurers of Novus Capital against numerous claims regarding guaranteeing a return on investment to investors.
  • Defending a leading aged care provider and its insurer against a number of claims arising from the deaths of residents at the client’s facility.

King & Wood Mallesons is described by clients as ‘Australia’s market-leading insurance practice’, which is particularly praised for its ability to handle professional negligence claims. Apart from its flourishing insurance litigation practice, the group is equally adept at providing regulatory advice, for which it is able to draw on the expertise of the firm’s financial services and regulatory investigations departments. The team is able to act for both sides – policyholders, as well as insurers and reinsurers. ‘Excellent adviserTravis Toemoe heads up the department and acts on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Special counsel Mandy Tsang is singled out for being ‘a standout performer and a highly skilled negotiator’. Special counsel Max Cash and senior associate Peter Yeldham are also noted. Justin McDonnell is a standout insurance litigator in Brisbane.

Practice head(s):

Travis Toemoe

Other key lawyers:

Justin McDonnell; Mandy Tsang; Max Cash

Testimonials

King & Wood Mallesons provides highly strategic advice

The team defends clients against professional negligence claims with sensitivity and empathy, whilst remaining able to provide robust advice

King & Wood Mallesons’ lawyers truly understand the insurance products available on the market, and continually push boundaries to secure market-leading coverage enhancements for the clients

Travis Toemoe is a great team player and is always accessible

Max Cash has strong analytical skills

Mandy Tsang has a deep understanding of the insurance landscape and offers her clients a high level of attention and responsiveness on every matter

Key clients

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Seqwater

Comcover

Suncorp Group

Lloyd’s of London

National Australia Bank

QBE Insurance Group

Zurich Insurance Group

Shine Lawyers

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing 14 separate clients in relation to enquiries relating to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
  • Advising Seqwater on defending a $2bn class action relating to the 2011 Brisbane floods.
  • Representing Shine Corporate in a shareholder class action involving multiple insurers.

MinterEllison’s insurance and corporate risk practice ‘does a great job at working collaboratively across multiple jurisdictions’. Peter Coats heads up the department, which provides a full service and is equally well versed in handling front- and back-end insurance matters. The group assists a diverse client base of notable insurers, and uses advanced technology solutions in handling claims and evaluating risks. Chern Tan is prominent in this space and is leading a team on acting for Westpac General Insurance. Kemsley Brennan demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the law and has unique appreciation for his client's needs’. Brisbane-based Katie Clark and Melbourne-based senior associate Kristy Brockwell are also singled out.

Practice head(s):

Peter Coats

Testimonials

This is a top-tier firm which is able to attract and retain top talent across the country

The insurance department is great at working as a team. Everyone remains focused on bringing the desirable results collectively, rather than focusing on individual team members’ success. When we need it, the firm does a better job than many other full-service firms in integrating non-insurance expertise balanced with the services and cost expectations of an insurer

Minter Ellison has a unique team of dedicated insurance lawyers, focused on delivering value and results for their clients nationally

Apart from being an insurance lawyer, Kemsley Brennan has also been a client due to his prior in-house work experience. Because of this, he truly understands how to deliver top-notch legal services. Without hesitation, I would recommend Kemsley to anyone needing legal assistance of exceptional quality, covering everything from litigation to compliance

Katie Clark always looks for ways to create efficiency and enhance service delivery without sacrificing the quality of the work product

Senior associate Kristy Brockwell goes out of her way to understand the pressure points for us as a client, along with the insured client on each claim and across the business as a whole

Key clients

National Australia Bank

Allianz Australia Insurance

Liberty International Underwriters

Suncorp

Insurance Australia Group

AIG Australia

Chubb Insurance Company of Australia

AMP Limited

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Acting for the owner of land damaged by a bushfire through liability insurer Westpac General Insurance.
  • Advising Medical Indemnity Protection Society on a medical negligence claim.
  • Managing asbestos claims for insurers Allianz Australia Insurance, QBE Insurance, and AAI.
  • Advising AIG Australia on warranty and indemnity insurance claims arising from corporate transactions.  
  • Acted for TAL on its acquisition of Suncorp’s Australian life insurance business.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s insurance team offers decades-long experience and is considered ‘one of the brightest stars in the field of insurance’. Tricia Hobson leads the practice, which handles both contentious and non-contentious matters including directors and officers liability, life and income protection, and insurance-related class actions. The group serves an extensive client roster of high-profile insurers, underwriters, claims managers, product developers, brokers and reinsurers. A key strategic advantage is the firm’s global presence, which allows the team to frequently act on cross-border matters including a stream of mandates from the London insurance market. It also advises on warranty and indemnity insurance, as well as cyber insurance coverage which 'highly skilled litigator' Jacques Jacobs is known for. Equally highly regarded on the contentious insurance side, Nicole Wearne is noted for her experience in acting on high-profile class actions, and her expertise in areas such as D&O, and professional indemnity. Ray Giblett’s practice focuses on both contentious and non-contentious issues in the financial services sector. Samantha Kelly has left the practice and John Moran departed to Clyde & Co LLP. Mark Attard is also a key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Tricia Hobson

Testimonials

Norton Rose Fulbright has a solid reputation and is highly sought after for complex disputes and policy coverage litigation. Team members have an excellent grasp of technical issues, while their approach to issues remains commercial and client-friendly

An excellent team to work with – reliable, efficient, and with a strong legal knowledge

Tricia Hobson stands out as a strong and decisive lawyer, who always displays a comprehensive understanding of the needs of both insurers and insured and is extremely client-focused

Jacques Jacobs is an excellent lawyer who handles a case quickly and efficiently

Paul Baram and Paulina Moncrieff are both excellent

Key clients

Insurance Australia Group

QBE Insurance Group

Chubb Insurance Australia

Medical Indemnity Protection Society

Brit Insurance

Ansvar Insurance

Markel

Insurance and Care NSW

Munich Re

Liberty International Underwriters

MLC Limited

CommInsure Life Insurance

AMP Insurance

TAL Life Insurance

MetLife

Westpac Life Insurance

Allied World Assurance Company Holdings

Sonic Healthcare

Coromin

Winsure Underwriting Pty

Allity Pty

HDI-Gerling Australia Insurance Co Pty

WSP Australia Pty

Work highlights

  • Defending SunWater in high-profile class action proceedings in Australia relating to the damage caused by the 2011 Queensland floods.
  • Representing MLC in class action proceedings concerning the sales of credit card insurance.
  • Advised a large national private insurer on a complex multi-party medical negligence claim.
  • Acted for boutique underwriting agency Bond and Credit Company Pty on the sale of its trade credit and surety business to Tokio Marine Management (Australasia) Pty.
  • Representing Catlin Syndicate, the underwriting member of Lloyd’s Syndicate 2003, in relation to an insurance coverage dispute.

At Wotton + Kearney , the ‘incredible lawyer a with strong reputationDavid Kearney leads the insurance group, which acts for a client roster consisting of national and international insurers, brokers, and other market participants. The firm has a notable insurance market presence nationwide, with insurance teams spread across the country in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. It has a recognised strength in general insurance work, where it advises on personal injury, property damage and product liability issues. Sydney-based Charles Simon  heads up the general insurance practice, where Belinda Henningham is also a key contact. Cain Jackson heads the financial lines practice in Melbourne, and focuses on directors' and officers' liability insurance, financial institutions coverage and defence work. The firm’s offering in property and energy-related insurance services are led by Adam Chylek and cyber liability and IT risk is a field of focus for Andrew Moore.

Practice head(s):

David Kearney

Other key lawyers:

Cain Jackson; Charles Simon; Belinda Henningham; Adam Chylek; Andrew Moore

Testimonials

Commercially minded, flexible, transparent, and easy to work with

Wotton & Kearney is great at handling claims in multiple fields, but is particularly strong in advising on all classes of casualty claims. The team shows a great depth of expertise and provides advice in a timely manner

Always available at short notice to assist us with urgent issues

Team members are strong below partner level as well, which is not always the case with other firms

The property insurance team in Sydney consists of capable, competent and confident lawyers

Exceptional leaders with great teams

Everyone is fantastic and always willing to go the extra mile to ensure their advice is fully aligned with our goals

Charles Simon, Belinda Henningham, Lesley Woodmore and senior associate Samantha McNally are all excellent lawyers and are the best in their areas of expertise. They always display a comprehensive understanding of the needs of both insurers and insured

Adam Chylek is a standout. His own experience is excellent, but it is his ability to grow and develop a team, give them exposure to large matters and to clients to grow relationships, that has taken the firm’s offering to a higher level

Key clients

American International Group (AIG)

Allianz

Axa XL

Chubb Insurance Australia

Dual Australia

Liberty Specialty Markets

Zurich Australian Insurance

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for third defendant Catlin Australia Pty on the case of Bank of Queensland Ltd v AIG Australia Ltd, a case concerning the application of a “related wrongful acts” aggregation provision in proceedings commenced against the insured, Bank of Queensland.
  • Defending a distributor of electricity and its underwriters on four class actions involving personal injury and property damage claims arising out of bushfires in March 2018.
  • Acted for the owners of a building and their insurers on a case concerning fire damage.
  • Successfully defended the former chairman of United Petroleum Holdings Pty against claims regarding the company’s unsuccessful IPO.

The insurance and risk group at Clayton Utz is praised for ‘looking after its clients even when the demands are great’. The team advises policyholders, and is particularly recognised for its work in the financial services sector. Melbourne-based Lucy Terracall is recommended for handling disputes for policyholders, while Mark Waller handles complex litigation for clients  including listed companies and governmental entities and agencies. Apart from its prominence in the insurance litigation space, the team also handles a wide range of transactional and regulatory work, including advising overseas insurers on Australian insurance issues. Department head David Gerber specialises in general and life insurance and reinsurance. Fred Hawke retired from the partnership and currently serves as a consultant at the firm's office in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

David Gerber

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Terracall; Mark Waller; Fred Hawke

Testimonials

The depth of knowledge that Clayton Utz brings to the table makes even complex transactions relatively smooth

The team is extremely commercial, and does not create work for the sake of creating work. All lawyers on the team are technically good, highly professional, and timely and concise with their advice

A depth of knowledge of the insurance industry and the law, which is second to none.  Thoughtful and attention to detail is excellent

Attention to detail, professional attitude, and high-level skills

David Gerber is a standout. He is technically astute, with a subtle manner of thinking and articulating the particular legal issues – all this inspires confidence from clients

Key clients

AMP Life

Anbao Insurance Pte

Renex Op Co Pty

Ridley Corporation

JLT

CommInsure

State Insurance Regulatory Authority

VicRoads

CoverWallet

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia

AMP

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority

Work highlights

  • Advised AMP on a reinsurance deal entered into with global reinsurer Swiss Re.
  • Advising  Anbao Insurance Pte on subrogation recovery matter arising out of a claim concerning material damage and business interruption.
  • Advising a clean technology solutions company on a claim regarding material damage and business interruption.

At Colin Biggers & Paisley, Andrew Tulloch and Gavin Creighton jointly head up the growing insurance department, which has carved out a reputation for handling complex contentious insurance work. Areas of focus for the group’s contentious work include construction disputes and associated insurance coverage advice, professional indemnity, personal injury liability, and asbestos litigation defence. The team also takes on class action proceedings, and cyber security-related insurance matters. Patrick Monahan has a specialism in professional indemnity insurance, particularly solicitors' negligence. In June 2018, the Brisbane-based practice expanded with the arrival of Michelle Taylor from Norton Rose Fulbright; Taylor is a recognised specialist in shipping insurance, with a particular emphasis on marine causalities and pollution issues.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Tulloch; Gavin Creighton

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Monahan; Michelle Taylor

Testimonials

The team stands out for its depth of talent, innovation, practical interpretation of the legal issues at stake, and down-to-earth advice

Greg Skehan, Michael Russell and Paul Bannon are all insurance lawyers with tremendous experience in matters relating to liability, contract works and industrial special risks. Each is an excellent partner who works hard to deliver sound advice and well-planned strategy to clients

Key clients

QBE Insurance

Zurich Financial Services

Liberty International Underwriters

CGU Professional Risks Insurance

Neon Underwriting

Chubb Insurance Australia

Catholic Church Insurance

Nova Underwriting Pty

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Downer EDI

ArgoGlobal

Prorisk

Toll Group

First Title Insurance Australia

Lawcover

Focus Underwriting

Wesfarmers

Work highlights

  • Acting for an Australian insurer in a class action against an adult education company.
  • Acting for QBE Insurance on matters relating to the Essendon Fields air crash.
  • Acting for multiple director and officer liability insurers of Babcock & Brown on matters relating to the company’s collapse.
  • Representing Dick Smith as a first defendant in two sets of shareholder class action proceedings.

The insurance team at DLA Piper  is praised by clients for its ability to provide advice at both national and international levels and includes London-based insurers. The group’s work in the contentious space, where it acts for both insurers and insureds is notable as is its transactional and regulatory expertise. Brisbane-based Samantha O’Brien heads up the national insurance department and specialises in the regulation of financial services providers. Clients also single out Sydney-based James Morse, whose practice focuses on contentious insurance work, which is also an area of specialism for James Berg. Brisbane-based Sophie Devitt is highlighted for her expertise in the area of insurance and financial services regulation.

Practice head(s):

Samantha O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

James Morse; James Berg; Sophie Devitt

Testimonials

Samantha O’Brien and her team have in-depth knowledge of the insurance and regulatory environment and are able to break issues down in a practical manner

The team has unrivalled international insurance knowledge and always goes above and beyond for its clients

The team provides concise and clear advice promptly

James Morse is an exceptional partner who is available day and night for his clients

Key clients

Gardner Group Pty

Chubb Insurance Australia

Suncorp Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted an electricity company with class action proceedings relating to a destructive wildfire and the resulting property damage in Western Australia.
  • Assisting Anastasios Galanos, Gardner Group Pty and its insurers with proceedings relating to damage caused by a fire.

HFW provides full-service advice to a notably wide range of national and international clients, including insurance and reinsurance companies, policyholders, captives and mutuals, brokers and other intermediaries. The team is well versed in handling insurance and reinsurance work across a variety of sectors, but has particularly strong expertise in matters arising in the mining, commodities, shipping, aerospace and construction industries. The  department has a market-leading reputation in relation to catastrophes- and business interruption-related insurance issues. From Melbourne, Richard Jowett heads up the national insurance and reinsurance group and has significant experience in handling high-profile claims relating to construction, energy, and industrial special risk. Jowett works alongside Brendan McCashin, who is adept at handling both contentious and non-contentious insurance work. Special counsel Sophy Woodward is another key name to note in Melbourne. In Sydney,  Andrew Dunn focuses on contentious issues relating to property damage, business interruption, energy insurance, liability and specialty insurance products.

Practice head(s):

Richard Jowett

Testimonials

The team has a strength in advising on insurance claims and policy matters

Team members are commercially minded and tenacious, and demonstrate a deep understanding of global insurance and markets

Richard Jowett is a leading insurance practitioner in Australia, whose work stands out for its consistently high quality

Richard Jowett understands the insurance market better than any adviser I have previously engaged. He knows exactly how to navigate the insurance claims process through to litigation, where necessary

Brendan McCashin has a great eye for detail and is very hardworking and consistently supportive with clients

Sophy Woodward is a superb practitioner in her own right and deals with issues with a calm and unwavering focus. She is an excellent negotiator and someone who you would want to have on your speed dial

Key clients

BHP

Allianz

QBE

Air Services Australia

Rolls-Royce Plc

IAG Re Australia

GE Power NZ Holdings Pty

Chubb

Downer EDI

Work highlights

  • Representing a large engineering and construction company in a high-value insurance claim for damage arising from the failure of a coating system applied to the onshore components of an LNG plant.
  • Acting for a large international mining company on claims arising out of a tailings dam failure in Latin America.
  • Acting for a public liability insurer of a defendant to class action proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales arising out of flooding in Queensland in January 2011.
  • Advising GE Power NZ Holdings on ongoing dust disease claims relating to the design, construction and maintenance of turbines and associated power generation equipment at power plants.
  • Advising a captive insurer of international mining company in relation to the novation of direct policies and related insurance.

Lander & Rogers’ insurance law and litigation department is jointly headed up by Ari Abrahams, Lisa Newcombe and Pat Hawkins, all of whom are prominent figures in the insurance market in Melbourne. The group’s client base includes large insurers, governmental agencies, brokers and self-insurers, for whom the team handles complex contentious issues. On the front-end insurance side, the department advises on corporate transactions, restructuring product reviews, and licensing requirements. Particular areas of ever-increasing growth for the group include class actions, construction and engineering-related insurance issues, and medical negligence and indemnity claims. Sydney-based Colleen Palmkvist is also noted for her experience in both contentious and non-contentious insurance work.

Practice head(s):

Ari Abrahams; Julie Smith

Other key lawyers:

Colleen Palmkvist

Key clients

AIG Australia

Allianz Global Corporate Specialty

XL Catlin

Wesfarmers

Victoria Managed Insurance Authority

QBE European Operations

Liberty Special Markets

Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee

Work highlights

  • Acting for Endeavour Energy in defence of Mount Victoria bushfire class action.
  • Advising insurers in relation to a class action initiated as a result of the alleged failure of Wivenhoe dam during the 2011 Queensland floods.
  • Acting for a global insurers on multiple claims arising out of the collapse of national retailer Dick Smith.
  • Acting for the insurer in proceedings against Infigen Energy relating to bushfire damage to properties in the Currandooley region.
  • Acting for a global insurer in relation to a securities class action brought against Myer Holdings.

Allens’ insurance department handles a wide spectrum of insurance work, but places particular emphasis on issues such as industrial special risks and business interruption, directors and officers liability insurance, public liability, construction all-risks insurance, and professional indemnity. Also of note is the group’s recent work for clients in the financial services sector. Melbourne-based Andrew Maher heads up the practice, which focuses on advising policyholders, and is adept at acting for both corporate insured and insurer clients. Malcolm Stephens is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Maher

Other key lawyers:

Malcolm Stephens

Testimonials

Excellent technical legal knowledge, coupled with a highly strategic approach to handling large cases and in-depth knowledge of the industry

Team members are very reliable and exercise excellent commercial judgement in providing high-quality services

Louise Jenkins is great at advising on complex issues

Key clients

Allianz

Westpac Banking Corporation

Rio Tinto

ExxonMobil

Newcrest

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Rest Industry Super

AIG

QBE Insurance Group

Lloyd’s Insurers

Work highlights

  • Advising Westpac Banking Corporation and Westpac Life Insurance Services on a class action on behalf of customers in relation to alleged breaches of fiduciary and statutory duties.
  • Acted for Rest Industry Super on notices by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, including assistance with the insurance round of hearings.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth assists clients with issues arising in relation to large-scale infrastructure projects as well as related coverage disputes. A standout highlight for the department is the team’s work on insurance issues arising in the context of the high-value Sydney Metro Northwest project. Also of note, the practice has niche expertise in surety bond facilities; Patrick O’Grady is a specialist in this field. Melbourne-based practice head Daniel Marquet specialises in insurance litigation, as does senior counsel Frank Lawson in Sydney. Marquet is also well versed in assisting private-and public-sector clients with insurance and risk advice.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Marquet

Other key lawyers:

Patrick O’Grady; Frank Lawson

Key clients

Chubb

Euler

Vero

Swiss Re

American International Group

Liberty Insurance

Zurich Insurance

Allianz Insurance

Tokio Marine

Argo Insurance

Berkshire Hathaway

Work highlights

  • Advising high-profile clients on issues regarding the A$8.3bn Sydney Metro Northwest project.

Clients recommend Hall & Wilcox for its expertise in the contentious insurance space, more particularly in relation to large claims arising out of contract-based disputes, disasters, and property damage. It is also adept at handling non-contentious work. Headed up by Rhett Slocombe, the group assist an enviable spread of clients including significant players in the London insurance market, domestic corporate insurers, self-insurers, and government bodies. Perth-based Anton Vucak focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, medical and public and property liability. Head of the general insurance group Matthew Curll is singled out for his decades-long insurance experience in the financial services sector and clients also mention personal injury practitioner Grant Galvin, statutory insurance specialist Simon Morgan, and the ‘incredibleRachael Arnold, who focuses on general insurance and product liability. In December 2018, David Short departed to accept an in-house position.

Practice head(s):

Rhett Slocombe

Testimonials

Hall and Wilcox adds a personal touch that bigger firms do not seem to have. This is demonstrated by the understanding of the partners and staff of the client’s needs and desired outcomes

The team has a strength in contentious matters, but is also able to mediate if that would bring a better result for the client

The team is approachable and interested in building a relationship with the client

Specialised insurance knowledge regarding large loss matters for commercial issues, construction and disaster claims

The team’s engagement with underwriters, brokers and clients, is outstanding

The team’s subject matter expertise is fantastic. The group works very well as a seamless unit, going above and beyond for the clients across multiple areas

Partners in the insurance group are very ably assisted by great associates

Matthew Curll is a standout partner—he provided constructive advice and was readily available to assist with all issues as they unfolded throughout our project

Perth-based Anton Vucak is very professional and provides great service on complex matters

Grant Galvin is professional no matter what situation he is placed in. Working with Grant on some of the most complex matters over the last several years is always made so easy. He is always responsive and collaborative. He is polite and a pleasure to work with. Grant also has an ability to make complex situations and issues come to quick resolution

Rachael Arnold demonstrates fantastic technical insurance skills and is good at assisting clients with coming up with a strategy

Key clients

Allianz Australia Insurance Group

Catholic Church Insurance

CGU Insurance

Tokio Marine Kiln

Insurance Australia Group

Insurance Commission of Western Australia

NRMA Insurance

QBE Insurance Australia

Transport Accident Commission

WorkSafe Victoria

Work highlights

  • Acted for plaintiffs IAG, Allianz and CommInsure in the Parkerville bushfire litigation in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
  • Acting for plaintiff Allianz in the Currandooley bushfire litigation.
  • Acting for three large insurers and hundreds of their customers in litigation arising from the St Patrick’s Day bushfires.
  • Acted for Pacific National in a case which involved the definition of the term “artificial aid”.

The insurance and risk department at Jackson McDonald has a traditional strength in sectors such as oil and gas, and mining. In the mining space, the practice is experiencing an increasing in instructions from clients in relation to professional indemnity policy claims arising in the construction industry. The team also advises on directors’ and officers’ liability, business interruption, employers’ indemnity, medical negligence, and statutory inquiries. Perth-based Alex Lustig jointly heads up the national group with Stefan Sudweeks, who leads the firm’s newly established office in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Alex Lustig; Stefan Sudweeks

Key clients

Chubb Insurance Company of Australia

Insurance Australia Group

Insurance Commission of Western Australia

Work highlights

  • Acted for a manufacturer in relation to a claim for damages arising out of an alleged failure of the bunker and tarpaulin system during multiple rain storms.
  • Acted for a mortgage broker in a Supreme Court action brought against the mortgage broker by a former client, who alleged a number of different causes of action including fraud.  
  • Acted for the Insurance Commission of Western Australia as nominal defendant.

Following the 2018 merger of which McCabe Curwood is the outcome, the firm has been attracting a growing number of instructions from clients at both national and international levels. Team members are well versed in handling a wide range of contentious and non-contentious issues relating to personal injury, medical negligence, product liability, property damage, contractual indemnities, industrial special risk, and professional indemnity. Scott Kennedy heads up the insurance division, where Stuart Windybank, Andrew Gorman and Paul Garnon are also noteworthy practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Scott Kennedy

Testimonials

Excellent legal services provided by a client-focused team

Due to his reputation in the field, Stuart Windybank always comes to mind when it comes to large product liability claims

Key clients

IAG

AAI

QBE Insurance (Australia)/ QBE Europe

Coles Group

Wesfarmers

Chubb

Lloyd’s of London

Proclaim Pty

Liberty International Underwriters

Work highlights

  • Acting for XL Insurance Company as underwriter in proceedings arising from commercial property damage loss due to the collapse of a warehouse.
  • Advising a leading Australian insurer on damage to a self-storage facility caused by a fire.
  • Acted for Ansvar Insurance on a joint application with Allianz Australia for the determination of a limitation period under an industrial special risk policy.
  • Acting for IAG in relation to a class action arising out of the Carwoola bushfires in Canberra in 2017.

Moray & Agnew ’s national insurance practice is jointly headed up by managing partner Geoff ConnellanSuzanne Wallace and Melbourne-based Anthony Scott. The group has a reputation for acting for clients on the defendant side and the team’s client roster includes national and international insurers, reinsurers, underwriters, governmental agencies, claims management agencies and self-insured corporations. The team advises on a wide-ranging scope of issues relating to professional indemnity, medical negligence, property,  catastrophic claims, and toxic torts. Peter Tredinnick is also a key figure to note.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Connellan; Suzanne Wallace; Anthony Scott

Other key lawyers:

Peter Tredinnick

Testimonials

The team has a strong technical knowledge and is always available when a client calls

All the individuals are great to work with and are always willing to help out

Everyone in the team has strong technical insurance knowledge

Key clients

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Australian Taxation Office

City of Melbourne

Insurance Commission of Western Australia

Municipal Association of Victoria

Work highlights

  • Assisted a Sydney-based barrister with responding to a complaint lodged by a former commissioner at the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
  • Assisted an insurance company with claims arising out of the collapse of Babcock & Brown, including issues regarding insurance cover.
  • Assisting The Benevolent Society with a personal injury claim.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s insurance department in Australia stays true to the strength of the firm’s worldwide reputation in the commercial disputes arena. Michael Mills and Michelle Fox jointly head up the department — both practitioners are recognised for their work in assisting corporate insureds with policy coverage issues and related disputes. The team is acting on a number of high-profile cases involving corporate collapses, disasters, and class actions. Senior associate Nicholas Lennings is also a name to note in the team.

Practice head(s):

Michael Mills; Michelle Fox

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Lennings

Testimonials

The team is strategically astute and thinks outside the square

Key clients

Infigen Energy

Richmond Valley Council

Work highlights

  • Represented Infigen Energy in multiple proceedings arising out of a bushfire.
  • Representing certain non-executive directors with claims arising out of the collapse of the Forge Group; work includes directors’ and officers’ liability advice.
  • Representing lead plaintiff Richmond Valley Council and group member councils in a class action against insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson.

At Sparke Helmore Lawyers, the growing insurance department acts for a client base consisting of national and international insurers, brokers and intermediaries. The team adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to contentious and non-contentious insurance work and has a strong relationship with the London insurance market. Also worthy of a note, the firm expanded its national coverage with the opening of a new office in Darwin. Sydney-based joint department head Chris Wood focuses on commercial insurance, while James Johnson heads up the national insurance statutory lines practice from Melbourne.  Clients single out Gillian Davidson, whose expertise lies in liability claims, particularly in relation to property damage and personal injury.

Practice head(s):

Chris Wood; James Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Davidson

Testimonials

‘The team stands out for its professionalism, flexibility, and knowledge of the insurance market’

‘Excellent strength in depth across multiple practice areas’

‘All team members are both commercial and sensible’

‘Gillian Davidson stands out not only as a real leader in her firm and her field, but also as a no-nonsense expert in insurance. She is tough, but also really sensible and client-friendly’

Key clients

Enstar

New South Wales Police Force

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in claims for property damage as well as multiple claims for physical and psychological injuries, following a gas explosion near a domestic property.
  • Assisted Munich Re in drafting submissions in response to a request for information by the Financial Services Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services.
  • Assisted The GEO Group Australia Pty with handling the insurance-related aspects of a significant common law damages claim.
  • Acted for Novus Capital on claims for compensation arising from the trading in exchange traded options through th e client’s authorised representative.

At Ashurst, Rehana Box heads up the insurance department, which forms part of the firm’s global integrated insurance group. The practice advises clients on insurance-related issues arising in relation to construction projects, M&A transactions, environmental matters. The team’s client roster includes notable international insurers and intermediaries for whom the team handles both contentious and non-contentious matters. Apart from its traditional strengths in areas such as directors’ and offices’ liability insurance as well as warranty and indemnity insurance, team members are also adept at providing advice regarding cyber insurance.

Practice head(s):

Rehana Box 

Testimonials

Expert knowledge of the insurance market, as well as a depth of knowledge of the defence sector in particular

Rehana Box stands out because of her expert knowledge, high-quality advice, quick speed and diligence

Key clients

AIA

Allianz

ANZ

Avant

Berkshire Hathaway

Challenger Life Company

Comcover

Genworth Australia

Insurance Australia Group

Latitude General

Liberty Financial

Marsh

Mitsui

Munich Re

Nippon Life

Pacific Life

Swiss Re

Westpac Life

Work highlights

  • Advising the Resolution Life Group on its acquisition of AMP’s Australian and New Zealand wealth protection and mature businesses.
  • Advised SecureBuild on a novel alternative product to home building warranty insurance.
  • Advising Freedom Insurance Group on its proposed acquisition of St Andrew’s Group from the Bank of Queensland.

Barry.Nilsson.’s insurance and health practice prides itself on the strength of the firm's national market presence. Department head Rhett Kennedy is based in Brisbane and is recognised for his decades-long experience in insurance law matters. The group’s core areas of expertise cover directors’ and officers’ liability, casualty, management liability, employment practices liability, and professional indemnity. Another particular strength lies in the area of claims management. Notable clients include insurers, reinsurers, brokers, and various corporate entities. Also worthy of a note is the team’s commitment to technological innovation. Simon Black is also noted for his 'in depth knowledge'.

Practice head(s):

Rhett Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Simon Black

Testimonials

Team members are professional, friendly and practical. They communicate well, know how we operate and anticipate our requirements

Simon Black combines outstanding results with in-depth knowledge of how insurance works

Key clients

AIG

Ansvar Insurance

Axa XL

Chubb

IAG

Munich Re

QBE

QBE 386

Suncorp Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for a number of national and international insurers on the case of Covenantholders v AET.
  • Acting for a third party insurer in relation to declinature of a claim for coverage of third-party property damage to road and rail infrastructure following an ammonium nitrate explosion.
  • Acted for a city council, on instructions from its management liability insurer, in proceedings arising out of allegations of negligence and misfeasance.

HWL Ebsworth handles insurance matters for both domestic and international insurers including London-based insurers. Areas of particular focus for the team include life insurance, reinsurance, professional indemnity, public liability, and medical malpractice. Sydney-based Ivan Medak heads up the national insurance practice, where financial lines specialist Andrew Miers and Canberra-based personal injury practitioner Sarah McJanett are also key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Ivan Medak

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Miers; Sarah McJanett

The insurance and corporate risk department at McCullough Robertson handles a wide range of insurance work for a client base consisting of public and private corporations, insurers, and brokers. Clients seek assistance with corporate transactions, compliance work, and disputes. The group has notable experience in policy drafting for international and domestic clients and it also works in conjunction with the firm’s wholly owned insurance broking practice. The team is led from Brisbane by Brad Russell, whose work spans sectors such as resources, property and infrastructure. The group bolstered its ability to handle both contentious and non-contentious matters through the appointment of Stephen White, who joined from Carter Newell in November 2018.

Practice head(s):

Brad Russell

Other key lawyers:

Stephen White

Key clients

Greensill Capital

Whitsunday Regional Council

Fitzroy Australia Resources

E3 Advisory Pty Ltd

Club Marine Pty Ltd

Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Greensill Capital on trade credit insurance and its enforceability by Greensill Capital and Morgan Stanley.
  • Advising the Whitsunday Regional Council on its insurance entitlements and on its claims strategy, aiming at receiving full insurance benefits.
  • Reviewed the insurance plan for Fitzroy Australia Resources.

At Meridian Lawyers, Andrew Saxton heads up the insurance department, which handles work for both national and international clients. The team has carved out a reputation in the field of professional indemnity, where it acts on instructions from insurers, underwriters, and professional services organisations. Other streams of work come through clients seeking assistance with medical negligence matters, employment liability coverage, and third-party claims concerning issues relating to liability, quantum, and policy coverage. Clients single out Brisbane-based Dennis Cronin, who has a specialism in professional indemnity in addition to general insurance litigation. In Sydney, other standout individuals include professional liability and product liability specialist Robert Crittenden, and Andrew Sharpe, who has significant litigation experience with financial lines claims.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Saxton

Testimonials

The team has a very straightforward approach to issues and does not waste precious time

Dennis Cronin is great at building relationships with clients

Key clients

Allianz Global

Guild Insurance

American International Group (AIG)

Insurance Australia Group (IAG)

MIGA

Medical Indemnity Protection Society

WFI Insurance

CHU Underwriting Agencies Pty

Woolworths Group

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Chubb

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for TransGrid via its asbestos liability insurer AIG in damages proceedings relating to the refurbishment of an electricity substation.
  • Acted for AIG Australia and Allianz Global on a claim arising out of the strawberry tampering crisis across Eastern Australia.
  • Acting for Allianz Global and Cochlear on product liability claims arising out of the failure of a batch of hearing devices manufactured by Cochlear.

The insurance department at Mills Oakley has a notably wide range of expertise in both mainstream and specialty lines of insurance. The work includes liability, professional risks, medical negligence, industrial special risks and workers’ compensation. It also advises on builders warranty, marine and life insurance matters. The group acts for both high-profile insurers and insureds. Stuart Eustace leads the Melbourne-based team and assists a varied client base including state government departments, statutory bodies, private Insurers and self-insured corporates. David Slatyer heads up the practice in Brisbane and his experience lies in professional indemnity, public liability, and industrial special risk. Clients also recommend special counsel Jeff Sewell, who often works alongside Slatyer. Sydney-based litigator Frazer Hunt is praised for his marine insurance expertise. Louise Cantrill and Michael Down are also key insurance practitioners in Sydney, where national insurance group leader Daren Curry is also based.

Practice head(s):

Daren Curry

Testimonials

A high level of technical expertise combined with a client-focused approach

The Brisbane office has strong capabilities in insurance within the superannuation field and in general insurance. The team is different from other firms in that its provides practical advice, thereby explaining the strengths and the weaknesses of the client’s case, which enables the client to make more informed decisions concerning mediation prior to trial preparation

I use Mills Oakley because of the firm’s straightforward proactive approach to matters

Specialist knowledge of the workers’ compensation system

David Slatyer and special counsel Jeff Sewell are both readily available and very experienced

Frazer Hunt is one of the leading marine insurance solicitors in Australia. His technical knowledge inspires confidence in clients, especially when dealing with multi-jurisdictional matters

Stuart Eustace is always available for consultation regarding issues and general strategy

Key clients

Insurance Council of Australia

NSW Self Insurance  Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Allianz Australia Insurance on a common law damages claim made by an injured employee.
  • Assisting an insurer with handling personal injury allegations.
  • Represented a real estate agent in an inquest into a house fire, which resulted in industry-wide recommendations regarding fire alarm regulation.

DWF's insurance group is led from Brisbane by the seasoned Damien van Brunschot. The team, which is part of a rapidly growing firm in Australia, has noted experience of workers' compensation with cases involving claims relating to diseases affecting mine workers and those in the construction industry. Senior practitioner Hamish Broadbent combines expertise in personal injury and insurance-related litigation in the healthcare sectors.

Practice head(s):

Damien van Brunschot

Other key lawyers:

Hamish Broadbent