Lydian maintains its status as Belgium's outstanding insurance law firm, with recent instructions on both Brexit-related matters and disputes arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including advising AIG on possible coverage under a business interruption endorsement policy taken out by TCR International, following the enforced closure of a terminal at Madrid-Barajas Airport. Hugo Keulers, who 'has reached legendary status in the Belgian market' as the 'go-to lawyer for any insurance issue', and Sandra Lodewijckx are at the helm of an 'impressive team' which 'consistently demonstrates both technical acumen and a keen sense of customer service' in further liability and fraud-oriented cases.
Insurance in Belgium
Hugo Keulers; Sandra Lodewijckx
‘Hugo Keulers is the go-to lawyer for any insurance issue in Belgium.’
‘Hands-on, pragmatic and great skills.’
‘Sandra Lodewijckx has good market insights, great skills and is the best in her discipline.’
‘Always available and well known in the insurance market.’
‘The best way to describe Lydian: they make our job easier. They have in-depth knowledge on all insurance-related topics and the skills to navigate coverage and liability issues.’
‘Hugo Keulers has reached legendary status in the Belgian insurance market. His vast knowledge combined with very solid strategic support, based upon his years of experience in the market, always prove valuable.’
‘Lydian provides excellent analysis, advice and legal services in relation to highly complex, high-value cases in the Belgian market. Hugo Keulers and his impressive team consistently demonstrate both technical acumen and a keen sense of customer service. Very good coverage analysis.’
XL Catlin/XL Catlin Insurance Company SE/XL Catlin Services SE, now: Financial Insurance Company td. c/o AXA
CNA Insurance Company
Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance (Global)
Aon Belgium BVBA / Aon Consulting Belgium
Allianz Global Corporate
SEB Life International Assurance Company
Dual Corporate Risks
ARAG SE – Branch Belgium
DAS Belgische Rechtsbijstandsverzekering
Hiscox Europe Underwriting Limited
Liberty Mutual Group
Beluga Insurance Solutions
Alta Signa Group
Immoweb Financial Services
- Acting for Beazley Furlonge Limited in a Belgian law review of the proposed wording for the professional indemnity and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policies.
- Acting for AXA XL, HDI Global Specialty and Foyer Assurances in relation to a coverage dispute under an event cancellation insurance policy taken out by the well-known festival organiser Tomorrowland, following the decision by French public authorities to cancel the event in February 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Acting for Nationale-Nederlanden in claims under its CAR/OAR policies for three of the seven offshore wind farms operational in the Belgian North Sea.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP specialises in handling cross-border insurance matters as well as multimillion-euro coverage disputes for a client roster featuring insurers, financial institutions, brokers and regulators. Disputes specialist and practice head Tom Schoors leads the experienced multi-disciplinary team, which handles work involving regulatory capital, financial and taxation issues, restructurings and damages claims. Other names of note include Sylvia Kierszenbaum, who advises international companies on the regulation of their insurance activities, along with employee benefits partner Christian Bayart. Schoors also assists on post-M&A and financial-based litigation cases.
Other key lawyers:
Sylvia Kierszenbaum; Christian Bayart
- Assisting the structuring advisers and dealers on the issuance of restricted tier one notes by a major Belgian insurance company.
- Advising a leading insurance company on the coverage for damages claims filed by a public service institution following terrorist attacks.
- Advising various international investors in the context of the acquisition of qualifying participations in insurance undertakings.
Insurance matters at ALTIUS are led by the 'exceptional' Alexander Hansebout and Jérôme Vermeylen, known for handling liability and coverage matters and regulatory issues, respectively. The practice has recently advised on various risk-related policies and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on both insurers and claimants, most notably assisting Mapfre with the interpretation and application of travel cancellation policies throughout 2020. Other regular work involves compliance and due diligence relating to licence requirements and post-M&A financial safeguarding. Clients also recognise counsel and litigator Stijn Van Schel as 'a distinguished lawyer with extensive knowledge' in insurance-related disputes.
Alexander Hansebout; Jérôme Vermeylen
Other key lawyers:
Stijn Van Schel
‘Extensive experience in providing legal assistance to business clients, which allows the team to always look for business-oriented legal solutions. The team always knows the case they are dealing with very well, and you can see that they care about the high quality of their work.’
‘Alexander Hansebout is not only an exceptional lawyer, but also an exceptional person. He has extensive knowledge in many areas and very extensive practical experience. Working with him ensures that things are in good hands. Alexander is always available and is a very easy person to work with; that really makes him stand out. Working with him is a real pleasure.’
‘Stijn Van Schel is a distinguished lawyer with extensive knowledge. What makes him stand out is that he is always professional, perfectly prepared and helpful at every step.’
‘The team knows the history and particularities of our situation and thus provides advice adjusted for our specific case. Altius provides a deep and clear analysis of the situation and a range of possible solutions.’
‘We especially appreciate the knowledge and service provided by Jérôme Vermeylen. Jérôme definitely has great expertise and knowledge in insurance matters. With Jérôme, we can be sure that with any question or problem he will help to prepare an analysis of the situation, in collaboration with lawyers who have specific knowledge, and provide the perfect support to allow us to choose the best solution.’
- Advising Mapfre on travel insurance policies in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and also in the context of queries from the national regulator.
- Representing Australian firm RWG Accountants & Advisors in litigation initiated by Belgian investors, claiming damages resulting from the implosion of Australian investment fund LM Managed Performance Fund.
The 'sharp', 'tenacious' and 'to-the-point' insurance practice at CMS demonstrates 'a modern-day, hands-on mentality and solution-driven approach' to the cross-border advice it provides for clients including insurers, reinsurers and brokers. Matters typically involve warranty and indemnity provisions, data protection or breach fallout, and rental agreements. Department head Virginie Frémat is praised for her 'high level of expertise' when providing coverage advice and drafting new policies to launch on the Belgian market, while associate Julie De Pauw has 'excellent technical and industry knowledge of complex liability cases'. Benoît Vandervelde made partner in January 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Benoît Vandervelde; Julie De Pauw
‘CMS is a highly skilled but very approachable and modern law firm. I would say they are more active in engaging in face-to-face contact with their clients than other firms.’
‘CMS is a hands-on law firm that always seeks amicable solutions for its cases, rather than engaging in lengthy proceedings.’
‘The individuals all show a modern-day, hands-on mentality and solution-driven approach to their cases.’
‘A good network to serve on international mandates. The team supplies rapid and pragmatic solutions.’
‘Virginie Frémat has a high level of expertise, is well respected and provides a service-oriented and pragmatic approach.’
‘Julie De Pauw has excellent technical and industry knowledge of complex liability cases.’
‘Virginie Frémat and Julie De Pauw are both are ready to see you whenever it is necessary, are friendly and have the ability to tell you what is important in such a way that you are not embarrassed (given a lack of legal knowledge) and that you know exactly where you stand.’
‘Sharp. Tenacious. To-the-point.’
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions
Assurances Crédit Mutuel
North Europe Life Belgium
North Europe Life Luxembourg
Cigna Life Insurance Company
Lloyds Insurance Company (Brussels)
- Advising Toyota regarding a new warranty system and the offering of a warranty on mechanical and electronic parts of vehicles.
- Advised English broker Howden on setting up a structure in Belgium and on obtaining a new Belgian licence as an insurance intermediary.
- Advising the Belgian subsidiary of Lloyd’s Insurance Company, set up in the context of Brexit, in connection with the new Belgian status of managing general agent and its impact on the cover holder’s existing position.
DLA Piper's client base ranges from traditional insurers, reinsurance companies and intermediaries to global data giants and insurtech start-ups. Led by Pierre Berger, the practice is praised for its 'extensive expertise in insurance products, with very good knowledge of case law', facilitated by a multi-disciplinary set-up which allows an easy crossover between corporate, data protection, tax and labour law expertise where necessary. The team also handles litigation before the civil, commercial and administrative courts, as well as various financial regulators, with Bob Martens a key name on compliance issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘An international network and extended know-how in regulatory and business matters related to insurance.‘
‘They have extensive expertise in insurance products, with very good knowledge of case law.‘
‘The team has deep knowledge and is able to translate that to business. Their methodology and communication is very interactive with us, and the availability of their team members is high. They know the industry and have a good network as part of the DLA Piper group.‘
‘DLA Piper’s team combines excellent legal knowledge with solid experience in different industries. This means they understand the business very well. Their pragmatic advice is much appreciated.‘
‘Strong expertise in insurance practice and very reactive. DLA Piper’s Belgian insurance team is taking on board new challenges and demonstrates strong commitment.‘
‘Pierre Berger is available, a team-worker, and puts his team members in meetings with us and makes them visible. He shares what he knows and also his network.‘
Tokio Marine Europe
GB Life Luxembourg
Zurich Insurance Company
- Acting for Assuralia, the industry organisation of Belgian insurers, in complex Constitutional Court litigation.
- Assisting Athora Belgium with the sale of its non-life (property and casualty) insurance portfolio to Baloise Belgium.
- Assisting Alan, a French insurance and insurtech company, with the review of its terms and conditions for an online group medical insurance policy from a Belgian law perspective.
Philippe & Partners benefits from expertise across Belgium and Luxembourg, which makes it a clear choice for clients seeking cross-border sector-specific advice on the development of new insurance products and distribution services, alongside regulatory and governance issues. Clients also appreciate the 'availability, know-how and speed of reaction’ of practice co-heads Marc Gouden and Pierre Moreau, who both handle advisory and contentious cases. The 'no-nonsense' Moreau is singled out for delivering 'top-notch legal advice', most significantly on the development and distribution of life and non-life policy products.
Marc Gouden; Pierre Moreau
‘Availability, know-how and speed of reaction.’
‘They have developed a niche position as a Belux specialist in the insurance sector. They can deliver excellent, technical and ready-to-use assistance in almost all aspects of insurance and are familiar with the regulators. Although not part of Big Law, they can easily assist in cross-border transactions, providing excellent technical advice up to international standards.’
‘Pierre Moreau is a widely recognised specialist in the insurance sector. He has worked in-house with insurers as well and knows the business inside-out. He delivers top-notch legal advice which always remains clear and easy to implement. Pierre is no nonsense and extremely nice to work with.’
Stibbe's multi-disciplinary offering benefits from 'a lot of expertise' in life and non-life, property and group insurance matters, as well as in strategic reinsurance advice. Department head and disputes specialist Oliver Stevens is 'very experienced and knows how to deal with large companies', while clients also recognise associate Sophie Bourgois as 'a strong professional delivering high-quality work', particularly in relation to major property, liability and credit losses. Corporate experts Jan Peeters and Pascal Vanden Borre extend the practice's scope to cover acquisitions, insurer and reinsurer sales, and portfolio transfers.
Other key lawyers:
Jan Peeters; Pascal Vanden Borre; Sophie Bourgois
‘Multi-disciplinary practice, a lot of expertise and experience.’
‘Oliver Stevens is very experienced and knows how to deal with large insurance companies.’
‘Strong, in-depth knowledge, no neglect of details and an open view of the interpretation of different options when appropriate.’
‘Sophie Bourgois is a strong professional delivering high-quality work. This is then supervised by Oliver Stevens, who is highly qualified and experienced, leading to a high-standard end product.’
AGB Kunsten & Design
Antwerp Port Authority
BNP Paribas Fortis
Brussels Airport Company
Irish Life plc
- Representing Brussels Airport and its fire and explosion insurer, MS Amlin, in various proceedings launched by indirect victims of the terrorist attacks on 22 March 2016.
- Acting for the Antwerp Port Authority in its dispute with AIG regarding coverage under its liability insurance policy of a multimillion-euro claim launched by a terminal operator.
- Assisting Monument Re with its acquisition of run-off life insurance portfolios in the Belgian and Luxembourg markets.