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The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU continues to dominate insurance practices as many insurer clients seek to optimise the future of their businesses in the UK.

On the corporate side, consolidation remains a key trend in the insurance market as pressures on costs and expensive regulatory compliance continue to be a driver. This has been key, particularly in the brokers sector, which has raised some regulatory concerns regarding market power.

Firms involved in contentious work continue to report a softening in insurance litigation; contentious mandates that fight tend to be fewer and high-value. On the regulatory side, requirements continue to be a significant cost for insurers, and an increase in the monitoring of personal data in underwriting has sparked some concern that this may impact insurance product development. Part VII transfers and the future regulatory implications of Brexit also provide firms with significant instructions. Data privacy and IT security are key areas of focus for many insurers as the development of cyber risk products evolves.

InsurTech is increasingly important area of growth for a number of firms as its application and use becomes more prevalent. There has been an increase in commercial relationships developing between InsurTech start-ups and established insurers which has spiked growth in this area.

There has been a slight uptick in potential Brexit-related restructuring mandates which has caused some concern, however firms have reported that there is largely less insolvency and restructuring work.

Product liability practices report that group actions in the medical device liability arena has slowed partially due to the fact that claimants continue to struggle to secure funding, while the fallout after the Grenfell Tower tragedy continues to dominate workloads. On a wider legislative front, the European Commission is preparing to review the existing EU legislation on liability for defective products, and the UK government has established a new code of practice for product recalls. The UK has also formed a new centralised body for product safety.

Enhanced regulatory scrutiny in the financial services sector has meant that firms are anticipating an increase professional negligence claims against financial services professionals. The FCA’s announcement in 2017 that it would be investigating the efficiency of the wholesale insurance distribution market could significantly impact the London market and possibly lead to an uptick in claims against insurance brokers. Cyber fraud and IT security claims are also key areas of focus for many practices due to the recent number of high-profile data breaches. Cases involving tax avoidance schemes continue to dominate professional negligence practices, while construction-related claims are poised to increase, particularly in response to the Grenfell Tower disaster and the liquidation of construction firm Carillion. On the pensions front, there has been a slight surge in claims involving overseas pensions schemes, and there have been several recent high-profile cases brought against legal professionals.

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Legal Developments in London for Overview

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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