Allen & Overy LLP has an extensive track record acting for policyholders in high-value coverage disputes against Lloyd’s market, Bermuda market and international insurers. Business interruption and event cancellations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic are among its active areas of instruction. Joanna Page often works with non-UK companies and (re)insureds on director and officer’s liability claims, professional indemnity, and political risk insurance. Richard Farnhill leads on mandates involving the overlap of insurance and financial services.
Insurance litigation: for policyholders in London
Allen & Overy LLP
Other key lawyers:
Richard Farnhill; Russell Butland
‘The members of insurance team know their law back to front, and give accurate as well as practical advice.’
‘Joanna Page is exceptional.’
‘The team that I have worked with has a unique blend of experience in the field, intellectual ability and work ethic. They were extremely quick in responding to requests and queries and contributed in a positive, valuable and helpful manner.’
Hiscox Insurance Company Limited
- Acting for Hiscox Insurance Company Limited in its reinsurance recoveries relating to Covid-19 losses.
Distinguished as one of the UK’s top specialist practices, Fenchurch Law has a ‘leading reputation in claims for insureds against insurers, in all classes of insurance.’ Managing partner David Pryce is the rainmaker of the firm and an a well-known authority in high-value disputes, often with an international element. Other key names include Joanna Grant, who leads the construction property risks team, working alongside Amy Lacey and senior associate Rob Goodship, and Jonathan Corman, whoconcentrates on financial institutions and professional indemnity.
Other key lawyers:
Joanna Grant; Jonathan Corman; Amy Lacey; Rob Goodship
‘Fenchurch’s insurance litigation practice is not only exceptional in terms of subject matter expertise, but also in the ability to provide value added advice and direction to clients keyed to client objectives, as well as insurance market behaviour.’
‘The firm has a leading reputation in claims for insureds against insurers, in all classes of insurance.’
‘Senior partner David Pryce has particular expertise in claimant work against insurers of construction all risks and construction professional indemnity insurance. His team are true specialists. Depth of subject matter knowledge highly impressive. Tactical strategists!’
‘Jonathan Corman is very bright, has huge expertise, in depth knowledge and a wonderful ability to knock the skis out from the other side.’
‘Fenchurch Law have a niche practice and largely unique in offering for policy holders. Taking an exclusive policy holder stance offers a largely conflict free legal service to argue against adverse policy stances adopted by the insurance market. The legal team have expert knowledge in insurance disputes and the legal framework that sits around such niche points of law. The firm is led by David Pryce and a highly competent team of partners and associates, who excel at what they do.’
‘David Pryce demonstrates an expansive knowledge of key/challenging insurance clauses and relevant case law. This, accompanied by a strong commercial approach, provides a very compelling offering to clients in their time of need and when all other usual broking channels have been exhausted.’
‘Fenchurch Law are one of the leading firms for policyholder insurance claims. They are absolute specialists and appear in many of the most significant coverage disputes in the country. They are excellent across the board. Fantastically client focussed, responsive, knowledgeable and form an effective team.’
‘David Pryce – Simply an outstanding lawyer and leader of the firm. He has vision, sees cases with amazing strategic analysis and really knows his stuff. Must be one of the best insurance lawyers around. Jo Grant – Exceptional lawyer with very extensive experience in construction insurance. Brilliant with the details and also sees the big picture. Rob Goodship – Brilliant lawyer, lovely guy.’
Stonegate Pub Company Limited
Angela Hartnett (Queen St) Limited
Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd (GRE5)
World Challenge Expeditions Limited
Exporter Finance Limited & PDH 2021 Realisations Limited
- Representing Stonegate Pub Company in the leading Covid-19 business interruption aggregation litigation.
- Represented Angela Hartnett (Queen St) Limited and 183 other hospitality policyholders in ad hoc arbitration proceedings against China Taiping Insurance. China Taiping declined coverage of the policyholders’ claims for BI losses arising from Covid-19 closures, which were submitted under a Non-Damage Denial of Access clause.
- Acting for Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd (GRE5), the freeholder of Nova House in Slough: a privately-owned block of 68 residential apartments, converted from an office block in 2015. Following the Grenfell disaster, it was discovered that the cladding on Nova House was similarly combustible and needs to be replaced.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Demonstrating a ‘great depth of resource’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP represents a significant number of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 clients on a diverse cross-section of cutting-edge mandates concerning the crisis in Ukraine, Covid-19, energy claims, cyber and W&I insurance. Paul Lewis ‘heads the team with a sure and effective touch’ - he works alongside energy and natural resources specialist Alexander Oddy and ‘outstanding‘ infrastructure expert Sarah McNally. Greig Anderson takes the lead on cyber, D&O, professional indemnity and works on cases involving some of the market’s most complex financial institution losses.
Other key lawyers:
Alexander Oddy; Sarah McNally; Greig Anderson
‘Wide range of knowledge, very commercial in approach and easy to deal with.’
‘On a personal level they are very pleasant to deal with and manage insurer negotiations effectively, understand the key commercial points and how to manage those within the legal framework of the policy and insured matter.’
‘Partner-led with great depth of resource. Pragmatic, flexible, efficient. Keep an eye clearly on client objectives and goals. Fine strategists. Utterly dependable and consistent. Excellent technically.’
- Advising Sky on a significant insurance claim under a construction all risks project policy relating to the design and build of its new office headquarters in West London.
Reed Smith LLP
Clients praise Reed Smith LLP is as ‘an absolutely first-rate choice for policyholders involved in the largest and most complex of coverage claims’, owing to its global coverage and its close partnership with the firms’ US insurance coverage group. Risk management and advisory work arising from major regulatory investigations is a key differentiator, as is its coverage claims work in financial services, energy and transportation. Peter Hardy has ‘decades-long insurance market experience’. He is joined by the ‘very formidable’ Margaret Campbell, who routinely represents international clients in the financial services, shipping, commodities and energy industries in arbitration. Mark Pring and senior associate Laura-May Scott are other significant team members.
Other key lawyers:
Margaret Campbell; Mark Pring; Laura-May Scott
‘Mark Pring is an absolute delight to deal with, and comes with a wealth of knowledge which is never bettered and rarely matched. His experience of working on the insurer side of disputes places him a relatively unique position to advise policyholders on what their opponents’ next move is likely to be.’
‘Margaret Campbell – stand-out partner with excellent reputation. Laura-May Scott – excellent, with huge potential.’
‘Peter Hardy – decades-long insurance market experience. Always sees the bigger picture; great tactically.’
Clifford Chance LLP is a popular choice for banks, major corporate and private equity firms, maintaining a busy caseload acting for policyholders raising coverage issues and in test claims, particularly arising both in the context of the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. Philip Hill ‘is right up there with the best’ and is active on D&O and liability insurance claims concerning the mis-selling of complex financial products, alleged fraud/breaches of duty in a transactional context, and political risk. He leads the group alongside the practices’ newest partner, Christopher Ingham, an expert in the oil, gas and energy sectors. Dorian Drew, Kate Scott and director Baljit Rai are recommended for financial services litigation and credit insurance.
Other key lawyers:
Dorian Drew; Kate Scott; Christopher Ingham; Baljit Rai
‘The team is able to provide strong support on the insurance regulatory side, in addition to being able to advise on the core commercial terms.’
‘Baljit Rai is an insurance expert and great at explaining the twists and turns of the market. Often subtle in her approach but incredibly effective. Excellent knowledge of her subject area.’
‘Philip Hill: His knowledge and expertise is right up there with the best and he is a pleasure to deal with.
‘Kate Scott: superb case management skills; really knows how to get control of a big case and is very good at foreseeing what issues the clients will need to have addressed.’
‘Philip Hill is very experienced and knowledgeable. Really thinks about his cases. Chris Ingham is an up and coming junior partner, who will go far.’
‘Christopher Ingham is a first-rate brain and a real thinker – he thinks inside and outside of the box, and no angle is left unexplored. He is capable of coming up with ideas that win cases – and that’s a rare quality. He’ a top quality insurance lawyer, and knows the industry as well as anyone.’
‘The insurance litigation team at Clifford Chance is absolutely excellent. All of the lawyers I have worked with have an exceptionally detailed knowledge of relevant insurance law, and great tactical and strategic insight into dealing with insurers. The team puts a premium on clear and regular communication with clients, and is very results-based in its approach.’
‘Philip Hillis exceptionally clever and experienced. He thinks very hard about his cases and is always on top of the law. Philip has an unrivalled ability to develop original and persuasive arguments on matters of policy construction to achieve optimal results for his clients.’
- Acting for a large number of aircraft lessors on claims to recover losses arising from the Ukraine crisis.
- Acting for eight major sports teams in claims to recover business interruption losses incurred during the Covid pandemic.
- Assisting numerous banks and financial institutions in the use of credit insurance for capital relief pursuant to the Basel Accords.
‘A standout team in this already competitive world’ Fladgate LLP‘s specialist team is led by the ‘highly respected‘ Garbhan Shanks, a senior partner with a strong track record representing policyholders and their captives in insurance disputes across pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy, financial services and utilities. The practice supplements its offering with David Weare ‘s expertise in construction-related insurance disputes. Senior associate Harriet Chopra is building a reputation representing US policyholders in product liability disputes and Bermuda Form arbitrations, in addition to claims in the life sciences sector.
Other key lawyers:
David Weare; Harriet Chopra
‘Real market leaders in the policyholder insurance litigation sphere. Tenacious, bright and hard-working. The Fladgate team is a standout team in this already competitive world.’
‘Garbhan Shanks is a highly respected and very senior player in the policyholder insurance litigation world. He has seen it all and gets great results in difficult cases.’
‘Harriet Chopra is a brilliant and tenacious lawyer.’
‘Garbhan Shanks leads an outstanding team – probably one of the leading and best policyholder teams in the market. Garbhan has an excellent understanding of how the insurance market operates, and can deploy that knowledge with deep subject matter expertise to his clients advantage.’
‘Garbhan Shanks is a very experienced and outstanding lawyer. Unlike many policy holder lawyers, Garbhan is steeped in the London insurance market and experienced in all classes of insurance and reinsurance classes. The combination of such deep experience with his experience of large and very large commercial litigation and arbitration makes his practice exceptionally strong. Garbhan’s advice is always clear and well delivered. If I was a policyholder, or a reinsured, I would want to be represented by him.’
HFW has built a strong foundation of clients in shipping, energy and commodities, and fields a team of coverage specialists in marine, energy and property insurance. Continuing to grow its international footprint, the team recently expanded its São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices with the transfer of solicitors from London, to work alongside its London-based Spanish-speaking partners Jonathan Bruce and Christopher Cardona, who both specialise in Latin America. Nigel Wick has wide-ranging experience acting in large market losses, including those arising from COVID-19, and various major onshore and offshore energy losses. Head of insurance, Christopher Foster has almost 30 years’ experience in contentious insurance.
Christopher Foster; Jonathan Bruce; Nigel Wick
Other key lawyers:
‘HFW has managed to build a team of lawyers who, apart from being technically competent, inspire confidence by their in-house dynamic. The partners clearly respect and collaborate with each other, which is not always the case in law firms. HFW competes internationally and it has recruited intelligently to ensure desirable diversity in its various overseas offices, as well as at the London HQ.’
‘Good international firm – solid practitioners and hungry to please. Great to deal with and policyholder friendly. Results driven.’
‘Jonathan Bruce provided an excellent client service and always provided an honest and open approach to the investigation and the expectation for the outcome of the case.’
‘Jonathan Bruce brings the intelligence, the knowledge, the experience and the inter-personal skills required to understand the issues and cut to the chase. He is attentive and generous with his time. He uses the firm’s resources and external resources effectively and aims at achieving a pragmatic resolution where possible. His effectiveness is enhanced by his language skills and his very international outlook.’
‘In relation to complex marine and energy disputes the team has a breadth of knowledge and a very pragmatic / commercial approach to providing advice. For clients wanting support to find a commercial solution, whilst maintaining the possibility of dispute escalation is a particular strength.’
‘Nigel Wick and Jonathan Bruce at the key partners for dispute resolution. A strong commercial instinct and strong understanding of particular marine and energy related issues.’
Headed by global practice co-chair Sarah Turpin, K&L Gates LLP‘s group have a wealth of expertise acting for policyholders across various lines. Often collaborating with its international offices, the practice handles cross-border litigation involving D&O liability, property and business interruption, Bermuda Form, led by Ian Meredith and offshore construction, which is Matthew Smith‘s key area of expertise.
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Smith; Ian Meredith
‘Sarah Turpin was very professional and efficient. She understood the matter and gave practical advice.’
‘K&L Gates provide an efficient service in this specific area of insurance law.’
Hyve Group plc
Republic of France
Far East Façades (UK) Limited
- Advising Hyve Group plc on insurance claims under Event Cancellation insurance policies following the postponement/cancellation of a number of exhibitions and events as a result of COVID-19 government imposed restrictions.
- Acting for the Republic of France in two Commercial Court cases and in related matters, arising out of an Arbitral Award in favour of the insurers of the M/T Prestige which sunk off the Galician coast in 2002 causing wide spread oil pollution and extensive damage to the coasts of France and Spain.
- Acting for Far East Facades UK in High Court proceedings arising from alleged design defects on One The Elephant – a luxury high-rise residential tower in London.
Mishcon de Reya LLP maintains a strong position at the forefront of the most significant insurance coverage litigation, with the ‘exceptional‘ Sonia Campbell and senior associate Sophie Fairclough acting for various hospitality companies in one of three leading ‘test cases’ on Covid-19 aggregation issues, following on from the landmark FCA Business Interruption ruling. Richard Leedham , a ‘real titan of a figure’, advises predominantly corporate policyholders on coverage issues and institutional funds clients on claims arising from investments in rights issues. Recently promoted partner Ralph Fearnhead is another key figure.
Richard Leedham; Sonia Campbell
Other key lawyers:
Ralph Fearnhead; Sophie Fairclough
‘Strong in the policyholder area, and growing. Great partners supported by able associates with appropriate divisions of responsibility between the two.’
‘Sonia Campbell is strong and well-known in the industry. Exceptional – bright, quick-witted and a joy to work with she is client focussed, knowledgeable and has a keen eye for the right strategy.’
‘Richard Leedham is what every litigator needs to be, tough, confident, decisive and highly effective in negotiating complex settlements out of court as quickly as possible.’
‘Excellent knowledge of insurance law. Ability to pick the right counsel and work with them in a collegiate manner. Innovative funding ideas and solutions. Total commitment to their clients.’
‘Sonia Campbell and Richard Leedham. Both give 100% for their clients. wealth of knowledge and experience in insurance law and practice. Very innovative in funding solutions.’
‘Sonia Campbell – outstanding litigator and insurance lawyer. Sophie Fairclough – always on top of the detail, very astute and capable’
‘Real market leaders in the policyholder insurance litigation sphere. Tenacious, bright and hard-working. The Mishcon team is a standout team in this already competitive world.’
‘Richard Leedham is probably the premier policyholder re/insurance lawyer in the market. A real titan of a figure and yet completely unstuffy and a brilliant leader.’
Covid-19 Business Interruption instructions
Wilton & Bain
- Advised Various Eateries Trading Limited on COVID-19 aggregation issues in proceedings listed to be heard in July 2022.
- Advised the HAG and HIGA claimant action groups as interveners in the FCA Test Case, with involvement at both the Divisional Court and Supreme Court stages.
Addleshaw Goddard is described by one client as a ‘silver circle firm with magical expertise’ in political risk, credit insurance and warranty & indemnity insurance. The Bermuda Form remains a particular speciality of practice head, Richard Wise and managing associate Laura Payne. He is also regularly instructed by US policyholders in relation to disputes in London or governed by English law. Natasha Winter made partner in May 2022.
Other key lawyers:
Natasha Winter; Laura Payne
‘Natasha Winter – very smart, savvy and details orientated. leaves no stone unturned.’
‘Silver circle firm with magical expertise – the firm deserves to be up there with those they appear on the other side too. We see the scale and volume of their work first-hand. Partners are approachable on all levels.’
‘Richard Wise is a wonderful attorney. He stands out in terms of practicality, intelligence, and the ability to move the case forward in an incredibly thoughtful and efficient manner.’
‘The team at Addleshaw Goddard are first class. They have an abundance of resources to call upon and a high level of experience and knowledge from top to bottom. Whilst all the individuals I have dealt with are exceptional lawyers, they are also extremely personable and easy to work with, certainly from counsel’s perspective.’
‘Richard Wise is a real star in the making. Richard is very bright and is able to cut through the chaff and to focus on the issues that really matter. He has an amazing work ethic but is very personable at the same time. A joy to work with.’
‘Natasha Winter – new partner this year. A very well deserved promotion. Very good with clients and counsel alike and a very good eye for the detail. She is also tactically very astute.’
‘Laura Payne is a real pleasure to work with. She is the engine room of the team who has an amazing ability to recall all relevant details and documents. Exceptionally bright and hard working.’
‘Laura Payne is a really outstanding associate – a master of detail and unbelievably responsive.’
FBN Bank (UK) Limited
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
White Oak Europe Acquisition Limited
- Acting for White Oak Europe Acquisition Limited in a £19m claim in the Commercial Court concerning coverage under a buyer-side W&I insurance policy arising from its acquisition of a group of UK companies in 2018.
- Acting for a Fortune 500 company in arbitrations with excess liability insurers concerning losses in excess $300m arising from the use of one its products.
- Acting for a FTSE 250 company in relation to aggregation issues relating to its claim for business interruption coverage in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burges Salmon LLP is particularly well-known for its firmwide expertise in the infrastructure, energy, rail and financial services sectors. Bristol based Matthew Walker is the lead partner in the practice and predominantly advises on construction insurance, warranty & indemnity and PI insurance claims.
‘The team are very proactive in drawing on the available expertise in other practice areas within the firm to ensure they deliver the best service.’
‘The team are exceptional – highly motivated, very bright, very commercially-minded and practical.’
‘Burges Salmon act for policyholders in some of the largest insurance disputes involving process engineering and construction.’
‘Matthew Walker is friendly, approachable and has excellent technical expertise. He is responsive and always seems to be on top of the detail of any particular case.’
‘Matthew Walker is an exceptionally able lawyer – very bright, fantastic with clients and very pragmatic and commercial.’
Matthew Walker is the go-to partner for this work.’
‘Total commitment and 24/7 dedication to getting the job done.’
‘Matthew Walker delivered a tremendous service on a very complex matter.’
Edwin Coe LLP
Focused exclusively on insured-side work, Edwin Coe LLP‘s ‘well-resourced and ably and competently staffed‘ team is led by Roger Franklin, and has developed a specialism in quantum issues and business interruption losses claims. Michael Whitton is active on liability and coverage disputes arising from fires, floods and thefts, and Nicola Maher represents clients in substantial property damage.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Whitton; Nicola Maher
‘Very well-known, high profile firm acting primarily for policyholders. Probably one of the leaders in the field from that perspective.’
‘Nicola Maher – very experienced, tactically astute, highly knowledgeable in this specialist field, Nicola provides a service to her clients that is second to none.’
‘Nicola Maher is very knowledgeable, practical and hard working. We cannot imagine any lawyer handling the difficulties we have had on the case with more patience, skill and intelligence.’
Corbin & King Ltd
CG Restaurants Ltd
- Advising Corbin and King Ltd, the owner of the Wolseley and a string other well-known restaurants, in connection with its business interruption claim against its insurer for Covid 19 losses.
- Advising CG Restaurants (Holdings) Ltd on the formation of a group action against QIC (Europe) Ltd and RSA in connection with claims against insurers for multiple Covid 19 losses linked to the various lockdowns.
Jonathan Kitchin heads Michelmores LLP‘s multi-disciplinary dispute resolution group which offers capabilities in professional indemnity coverage dispute, D&O cover and marine insurance. The practice maintains strong activity advising on business interruption claims, predominantly acting for hospitality venues, sports and real estate companies.
‘Approachable, offers clear, simple and practical advice and good on fees.’
Wynterhill LLP‘s specialist insured team is co-led by Stuart Hill and Dan Brooks and provides ‘impeccable service and the highest levels of knowledge in the market when it comes to insurance coverage disputes.’ Key sectors of expertise include construction risks, professional indemnity, and property damage and business interruption claims.
Stuart Hill; Dan Brooks
‘Wynterhill are my first port of call as they have a very honest approach and will clearly state at the outset whether or not clients have a good chance of success in their dispute.’
‘Dan Brooks inspires confidence. I can rely on him and the team to provide a professional and legally sound service in construction insurance.’
‘Wynterhill provides an excellent service with a personal approach. I like their ‘no-nonsense’ approach to sorting the wood from the trees to get to the crux of the matter in hand.’
‘Stuart Hill and his team provide impeccable service and the highest levels of knowledge in the market when it comes to insurance coverage disputes.’
‘Stuart Hill’s experience and knowledge in the sector is second to none. He has helped our brokerage and our clients immeasurably in the last 18 months with some outstanding results achieved on disputed claims.’
- Acting for Opia Ltd in a contingency policy coverage dispute arising from the purported avoidance of a policy protecting against the risk of higher than expected take up of a cash-back offer, forming part of a sales promotion for consumer electronic equipment.
- Acting for a firm of architects in a professional indemnity coverage dispute arising from negligence claims from an Oxbridge university which resulted in disputes with multiple years of account and multiple layers.
- Advised an insurance broker representing a group of 800 physiotherapist policyholders with business interruption claims, and helped design an arbitration process, following the FCA Test Case and Supreme Court’s decision on Covid-19 claims.