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Insurance litigation: for policyholders in London

Allen & Overy LLP

Praised for its ‘strength and diversity of experience in all aspects of contentious insurance’, Allen & Overy LLP acts for policyholders in insurance litigation matters involving directors and officers (D&O), professional indemnity, business interruption claims and fraud cases. The team is well-placed to draw on the firm’s capital markets, finance, tax and regulatory expertise, and acts for clients in arbitration proceedings, as well as court cases. ‘Highly experiencedJoanna Page, who works across a broad range of insurance matters, jointly heads the practice with ‘razor sharpRichard Farnhill, who has expertise in the overlap between insurance and financial services disputes. Counsel Russell Butland is also a key contact in the team.

Practice head(s):

Richard Farnhill; Joanna Page

Other key lawyers:

Russell Butland

Testimonials

‘A cohesive team with talent throughout. Partners who manage well but also understand the detail and associates who are brilliant lawyers and magnificently committed to their client’s cause.’

‘Richard Farnhill has a razor sharp intellect and an ability to grasp complex issues at lightning speed. His calm and professional demeanour in stressful times qualifies him as our go-to lawyer for exceptionally difficult contractual issues.’

‘Strength and diversity of experience in all aspects of contentious insurance, unusual in my experience in magic circle firms for whom insurance is often a blind spot.’

‘Joanna Page – a highly experienced, calm and effective team leader.’

‘This team, being very coherent and collaborative in its approach and engagement at all levels, operate at a level cut above the rest. Their approach to problem solving is highly commendable, and contains a hard-to-come-by composition of legal knowledge with practical commercial considerations. Richard Farnhill’s strategic approach is perpetually out of the box. The team deploys technology successfully in running matters over a geographically diverse area, which has been invaluable in responding to travel and communications limitations during the pandemic.’

‘Russell Butland – Strikingly able and tests every angle of an issue, with great results.’

Key clients

The Prudential Assurance Company Limited

Fenchurch Law

Insurance litigation for policyholders is the ‘raison d’etre’ of Fenchurch Law, which is praised for its impressive work ‘for policyholders engaged in complex coverage disputes with insurers’. The team is led by founder David Pryce, who ‘brings with him a long experience in the market’ and handles construction insurance claims, as well as cyber risk work. Joanna Grant heads firm’s property risk team, while Jonathan Corman leads the professional risk practice, and handles financial institution and professional indemnity claims. The team’s newest partner Aaron Le Marquer specialises in product liability and recall matters. Amy Lacey is also a key contact for construction risk matters.

Practice head(s):

David Pryce

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Corman; Aaron Le Marquer; Amy Lacey; Robert Goodship

Testimonials

‘The team at Fenchurch Law are particularly impressive in their work for policyholders engaged in complex coverage disputes with insurers. They are very client-focused, developing a clear strategy and pursuing it with rigour and determination, taking account of the client’s goals, funding capacities and risks. Lawyers at the firm are steeped in both the law and practice of insurance disputes, and can hold their own against top flight commercial firms.’

‘David Pryce is one of the very best lawyers working for policyholders in insurance litigation. He brings with him a long experience in the market, excellent technical abilities and a shrewd strategic brain.’

‘Jonathan Corman picks up the phone regularly and is very responsive, clear and decisive in his advice. Absolutely superb.’

‘Fenchurch are in a very limited market of litigation, their experience is without doubt. Insurance litigation is their raison d’etre. Most other firms, its a division, here, its the firm. That means the experience of all the partners and associates makes other firms pale in comparison.’

‘David Pryce – head of the team. Astute, knows his stuff, tough negotiator, great tactician, an asset to any case. Joanna Grant – excellent, especially on construction related claims.’

‘User-friendly firm with clear strengths in insurance policy coverage work. Approachable and energetic partners focused on relationship building as well as the deliverable.’

Key clients

Lancasters Management Ltd

Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd (GRE5)

Stonegate Pub Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Lancasters Management Ltd, the management company of an ultra-prime residential development, where significant defects have been identified in the building façade and the bathrooms in each property.
  • Acting for the freeholder of Nova House in Slough, a privately-owned block of 68 residential apartments, where the cladding similarly combustible to Grenfell.
  • Representing Stonegate Pub Company in a dispute over business interruption coverage available in relation to Covid-19 losses valued  at around £900m.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is praised for its ‘premier service, supported by leading advice’, when handling some of the largest and most complex insurance claims in the market. In addition to representing the FCA in the Business Interruption Test Case, the team acts for policyholders across the banking, energy, manufacturing and financial services sectors. Practice lead Paul Lewis also heads up the firm’s global contentious insurance and reinsurance practice, and has considerable experience in insurance mandates. Alexander Oddy is noted for his expertise in the energy and natural resources sector, while Sarah McNally handles a range of insurance work, particularly warranty and indemnity insurance claims, and Greig Anderson gives ‘strategic advice’ in professional negligence matters.

Practice head(s):

Paul Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Oddy; Sarah McNally; Greig Anderson

Testimonials

‘Very good industry knowledge, coupled with their great legal expertise, allows the team to provide excellent advice and a pragmatic approach to issues.’

‘Premier service supported by leading advice.’

‘Greig Anderson is extremely thorough and analytical but also able to give strategic advice where required.’

Key clients

National Australia Bank

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the FCA which advanced the claim for policyholders in the Covid-19 Business Interruption insurance test case both in the High Court and Supreme Court
  • Advising NAB on their insurance coverage claims and UK banking and regulatory issues.

Reed Smith LLP

The insurance recovery group at Reed Smith LLP leverages the firm’s global office network to act for multinational policyholders in complex, cross-border insurance matters. The team is led by Peter Hardy, who is experienced in coverage disputes, particularly in the financial services sector. Margaret Campbell represents policyholder clients in disputes involving marine, warranty and indemnity and energy risk insurance, while Mark Pring is noted for his experience in handling multi-jurisdictional disputes. Associate Laura-May Scott is a key member in the team.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hardy

Other key lawyers:

Margaret Campbell; Mark Pring; Laura-May Scott 

Testimonials

‘Led by exceptionally able and tenacious partners.’

‘Peter Hardy – second to none in his understanding of commercial risks, such as D&O.’

‘The “go-to” firm for high-value policyholder commercial insurance disputes. A detailed knowledge of the industry, combined with legal nous and a great attitude makes the team a delight to work with.’

‘Mark Pring is excellent. The full package – great with clients, brilliant technical knowledge and a sound head for the commercial realities.’

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP’s insurance team acts for policyholders in claims under contingency cancellation, business interruption and warranty and indemnity policies. The practice is led by insurance partner Philip Hill, who has considerable experience in representing policyholders in coverage disputes. ‘Dynamic new partnerChristopher Ingham has a particular focus on credit, property and liability insurance.

Practice head(s):

Philip Hill

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Ingham

Testimonials

‘Chris Ingham is a dynamic new partner.’

‘Very well led from the top, with common sense and a commercial approach, well mixed with a deep understanding of the law.’

‘Philip Hill (partner) is a superb insurance lawyer, with a total grasp of the industry and the legal issues.’

‘Chris Ingram (partner) – stormingly clever and a first-rate choice.’

‘Phil Hill combines insurance and general litigation expertise.’

Key clients

HSBC

ITV

AXA

Credit Suisse

Royal Bank of Canada

SMBC

Barclays

The Carlyle Group

General Electric

Work highlights

  • Representing several major sports companies in claims brought under business interruption insurance policies.
  • Advising a private equity company in relation to recovering loss flowing from breach of warranties given by the seller to our client in the Acquisition Agreement.
  • Representing an international media group of TV broadcast and production companies in relation to claims under their property damage and business interruption policies.

HFW

HFW is noted for its expertise across the energy, mining, shipping and commodities sectors when acting for policyholders in insurance disputes. On account of the firm’s ‘wide geographical reach with overseas offices’, the practice is well-placed to handle international litigation matters. Head of the insurance team Christopher Cardona oversees the practice, while Jonathan Bruce, who is praised for his ‘knowledge of and links to Latin America’, and Nigel Wick jointly lead the policyholder group. Simon Banner is also a key contact in the team.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Cardona; Jonathan Bruce; Nigel Wick

Other key lawyers:

Simon Banner

Testimonials

‘There are only a few firms/practices that are willing to represent policyholders. HFW has a strong team that can act in this capacity. They are very professional with excellent knowledge of the insurance market (insurers, adjusters etc.) which enables them to build this into their strategy.’

‘Stand out partner in my experience is Jonathan Bruce, very experienced in marine hull, and oil and gas disputes in particular, and useful knowledge of and links to Latin America. Very quick to assess and analyse complex claim situations and provide clear and authoritative advice.’

‘HFW covers all the main areas of maritime law, both wet and dry, and provides a very comprehensive professional service to both insurers and shipping interests. The team includes notable individuals with niche skills and rich experience, more so than comparable firms. They are particularly strong in ports & terminals,charter party disputes, casualty investigation. A very wide geographical reach with overseas offices in key locations and good links with local overseas law firms and experts where required.’

‘My main contact is Jonathan Bruce. He’s great to work with, very communicative and collaborative. It feels like we are working as a team, rather than the lawyer running the case.’

K&L Gates LLP

K&L Gates LLP exclusively represents policyholders in insurance disputes and frequently leverages the firm’s global office network to handle cross-border matters. The insurance team is led by Sarah Turpin, who has particular expertise in D&O, property and business interruption, professional liability and credit risk insurance claims. Ian Meredith  works on international insurance arbitrations, while Clare Kempkens is a key contact for energy-related insurance issues and senior associate Theo Hall focuses shipping disputes.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Turpin

Other key lawyers:

Ian Meredith; Clare Kempkens; Theo Hall; Edward Brown-Humes

Testimonials

‘The insurance litigation team acts only on behalf of policyholders, which gives unique expertise, experience and focus. Invaluable in providing a full, independent appraisal of the client’s position.’

‘Sarah Turpin and Edward Brown-Humes. Willing to make themselves available to really get to grips with the situation and provide advice to put the client in the best possible position. Able to think of innovative angles and approaches the client might take to further its interests. Really “have your back” as the client.’

Key clients

Halliburton Company

Hyve Group plc

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Halliburton Company in relation a significant case for arbitrator challenges, which dealt with the issue of multiple appointments of arbitrators.
  • Advising Hyve Group plc on event cancellation insurance claims following the postponement/cancellation of a number of exhibitions and events as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP is praised for its ‘strength in managing claims by policyholders’ and fighting ‘their client’s corner passionately and to the hilt’ in insurance disputes. In addition to their involvement in the FCA Business Interruption Test Case, the team has expertise in property damage, broker negligence and D&O claims, as well as acting for clients in arbitration proceedings. ‘Tenacious litigatorRichard Leedham, who has broad experience in insurance litigation, leads the practice alongside ‘standout’ partner Sonia Campbell, who is noted for her work in the life sciences sector. Recently promoted legal director Ralph Fearnhead and associate Sophie Fairclough  are key members in the team.

Practice head(s):

Richard Leedham; Sonia Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Ralph Fearnhead; Sophie Fairclough

Testimonials

‘An approachable and likeable team, led by Sonia Campbell, which has real strength in depth and unrivalled experience in this market. Client-focused, pragmatic and commercial, the team is dedicated to securing efficient and effective outcomes for its clients.’

‘Sonia Campbell is a standout lawyer. She has fantastic experience which she brings and uses to great effect on current matters. A keen legal mind with an eye for detail, she has the right package of skills to achieve positive outcomes for her clients. Sonia is ably supported by a range of associates, including the talented Sophie Fairclough who is a name to watch.’

‘The team specialise in only policyholder disputes and fight their clients’ corner passionately and to the hilt.’

‘Richard Leedham is a great strategic thinker and a tenacious litigator. Ralph Fearnhead is highly experienced and pragmatic.’

‘I worked with them on the landmark FCA proceedings and associated disputes in relation to business interruption insurance. They are top-tier/top-class. Did an absolutely brilliant job.’

‘Great strength in managing claims by policyholders, including group litigation and test cases. Sonia Campbell’s team is, deservedly, incredibly busy.’

‘Sonia Campbell is unbelievably hard working and intelligent, a very wise litigator, upbeat, thinks very carefully about all aspects of a problem and is great with clients. Sophie Fairclough is very hard working, very efficient and excellent with clients.’

Key clients

HAG

Hospitality Industry Group Action

K7 Holdings Limited

Cheval Roc Limited and Bonne Nuit Cheval Limited

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard is praised for its ‘experience in the London insurance market with respect to policyholder representations’. The team handles matters involving business interruption claims, as well as political risk insurance and credit insurance. Practice head Richard Wise has particular expertise in claims related to Bermuda forms and other cross-border insurance disputes.

Practice head(s):

Richard Wise

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Pool; Natasha Winter; Laura Payne

Testimonials

‘Addleshaw Goddard has extensive experience in the London insurance market with respect to policyholder representations and are up to date on all the relevant rules, case holdings and players in this field.’

‘Richard Wise is very attentive to details and does an excellent job of communicating issues to the client. His entire team is very personable and easy to work with.’

‘Richard Wise – excellent partner, very committed and focused. Natasha Winter and Laura Payne bring focus and clarity to complex material.’

‘Good industry knowledge, very practical and pragmatic advice commercially pitched very well. Able to fight the insurer-led lawyers toe-to-toe and come out on top.’

‘Richard Wise – calm, collected, very knowledgable and able to strategise.’

Key clients

Weyerhaeuser Company

FBN Bank (UK) Limited

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

White Oak Acquisition Limited

Hazel Middle East FZE

Work highlights

  • Acting in a £19m claim in the Commercial Court concerning coverage under a buy-side W&I insurance policy.
  • Acting for Hazel in a £5.75m dispute in the DIFC concerning coverage under a credit insurance policy.

Burges Salmon LLP

Based in Bristol, the insurance team at Burges Salmon LLP acts for policyholders in the construction, transport, energy and financial services industries. ‘Standout partnerMatthew Walker heads up the practice and has particular expertise in construction insurance and warranty and indemnity claims. The team is praised as being ‘highly effective at devising successful strategies for achieving their clients' commercial objectives.’

Practice head(s):

Matthew Walker

Testimonials

‘Matthew Walker is the standout partner for high-value coverage disputes.’

‘The insurance team at Burges Salmon is outstanding. They are very bright and extremely knowledgeable, highly experienced, and highly effective at devising successful strategies for achieving their clients’ commercial objectives.’

‘Matthew Walker is an extremely able lawyer, very hard-working, a superb manager of a team, very easy to work with, and highly effective at achieving his clients’ commercial objectives.’

Key clients

Costain Group plc

Jaguar Energy LLC

Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited

Marlborough Fund Managers

Andrew Brownsword Hotels Limited

FirstGroup plc

RHP Group Limited

Vero Liability Insurance Limited

Power Electrics (Bristol) Limited

Edwin Coe LLP

Edwin Coe LLP acts solely for policyholders and is noted for its expertise in property damage and business interruption policies, particularly claims related to fires. Led by Roger Franklin, who is praised as the ‘go-to person for complex insurance litigation matters’, the team also acts for clients in indemnity and liability matters. Michael Whitton and Nicola Maher are key contacts for insurance coverage disputes.

Practice head(s):

Roger Franklin

Other key lawyers:

Michael Whitton; Nicola Maher; Oliver Pannell

Testimonials

‘The insurance litigation department at Edwin Coe LLP are a extremely professional and approachable team who grasp the key issues of a dispute very quickly. This enables a relationship to build on confidence and transparency which clients appreciate in their time of need.’

‘Roger Franklin is an extremely capable go-to person for complex insurance litigation matters and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others.’

‘This an extremely able combative team led by Roger Franklin. Combative in a sensible way, not an objectionable way. They take on difficult cases, instruct quality counsel and achieve very good results for their clients.’

‘Oliver Pannell – a real rising star, who has great technical knowledge and first-rate judgment.’

Key clients

Sartex Quilts and Textiles Limited

Niramax Group Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Sartex on matters arising from a fire at its premises in May 2011. The broker claim for underinsurance previously settled and the claim against insurers, which revolved around the appropriate measure of indemnity, was considered before the Court of Appeal in 2020.

Fladgate LLP

Praised for going ‘the extra mile for their clients’, Fladgate LLP acts for policyholders in insurance disputes involving professional indemnity, political risk, product liability and product and business interruption insurance. Head of the practice Garbhan Shanks and senior associate Harriet Chopra joined the firm from Michelmores LLP in April 2021. Shanks is noted for his expertise across a range of insurance matters and Chopra represents US policyholders in product liability disputes.

Practice head(s):

Garbhan Shanks

Other key lawyers:

Harriet Chopra; Naomi Hall

Testimonials

‘Garbhan Shanks has a very strong reputation in the market.’

‘A small, knowledgeable team, with individuals who are experts in the law and insurance market. They go the extra mile for their clients.’

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP represents policyholders in claims under personal injury, business interruption, professional indemnity and product liability insurance policies. Following the departure of Garbhan Shanks to Fladgate LLP in April 2021, the practice is now led by Jonathan Kitchin, who also heads up the firm’s commercial and regulatory disputes department.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Kitchin

Testimonials

‘Jonathan Kitchin – partner who has secured high-quality insurance instructions. He is a pleasure to work with.’

Wynterhill LLP

Specialist insurance policyholder litigation firm Wynterhill LLP handles cases under financial risks, construction and property and business interruption insurance policies. Jointly led by Stuart Hill and Dan Brooks, who has particular expertise in professional indemnity, construction risk and business interruption claims, the team is noted for its strong relationships with insurance brokers. Michael Howard, who handles construction and professional indemnity claims, and head of the firm’s construction team Chris Dunlop, are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Hill; Dan Brooks

Other key lawyers:

Michael Howard; Chris Dunlop

Testimonials

‘Wynterhill are one of the very few specialist policyholder insurance law firms. Their partners are all experienced insurance law professionals with excellent track records. They are very focused on the policyholder perspective and have a practice geared up to allow easy and affordable access to policyholders on disputed insurance claims. One of their most exiting innovations is their partnership with a leading firm of charted loss adjusters who only act for policyholder. This allows them to provide both legal and quantum assistance.’

‘The whole team’s approach to customer service is outstanding. They work collaboratively with us and our clients to provide initial thoughts before setting out more detailed advice. They always put the client first and are excellent communicators.’

‘Specialist sector knowledge.’

‘Their depth of technical knowledge is second to none. They are able to very quickly understand the issues on any case and identify the key areas, cutting through the fog and complexity produced by the insurer in the dispute. What really makes then stand out is their passion for the client and the work they do.’

‘Outstanding lawyers who provide excellent advice and offer superb customer service, always in a timely fashion.’

‘Responsive with ability to effectively communicate legal position in a clear and simple manner.’

Key clients

Opia Limited

Insurance Broker Network

Camerons Brewery Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Camerons Brewery Limited in commercial court proceedings, seeking an indemnity from insurer RSA pursuant to a business interruption policy in relation to the closure of 40 pubs as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Advising a policyholder client facing an underlying claim from a mortgage lender in relation to an allegedly negligent building survey of commercial property.
  • Advising tax consultancy business client in a multi-party fraud claim being pursued by the Danish Tax Authorities.