Insurance in Mexico
Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. fields ‘a solid team of experienced and well-trained lawyers with different backgrounds’; it handles all legal aspects of the insurance and reinsurance sector, namely M&A, finance, corporate governance, regulatory, and day-to-day and contentious matters. With impressive clients and a developing track record, highlights for 2018 included assisting the Mexican subsidiary of Global Insurance Group in a sanction process arising from a regulatory audit concerning anti-money-laundering compliance, which included the establishment of a regularisation plan; Virginia Surety Seguros de México with the registration of automobile and mobile phone insurance products, initially opposed by the regulator; and Aragon Insurance Group with its licensing process as a Mexican insurance broker specialised in aviation and marine risks. An insurace-related capital-markets mandate also saw the firm act for the Mexican Government on the issuance of joint multi-country floating rate earthquake-linked capital-at-risk notes, issued under the World’s Bank IBRD Global Debt Issuance Facility, the largest sovereign risk insurance transaction to date and the second-largest issuance in the history of the catastrophe bond market. A ‘reference in the industry’ according to one client, Leonel Pereznieto co-leads the practice with counsel María José Pinillos, ‘a rising star worth keeping an eye on’. Working in tandem, ‘their experience and knowledge about the industry makes them one of the best options available to solve complex problems’. Other clients include Cardif México, Bupa México, Genworth Financial, AXA, Allianz, Suraramericana /Seguros Sura, Odyssey Reinsurance Company, MBIA Insurance Corporation, Swiss Re, and Great American Insurance /El Aguila Compañía de Seguros.
The ‘solid’ 17-strong team at Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC is the preferred choice of clients because it is ‘always a reference in the industry and a reliable legal partner for complex issues’. With 25 years’ experience in the sector and offices in Mexico City and London, it has a primary focus on non-contentious matters, including the corporate, regulatory, transactional and compliance aspects of the sector, along with product design and product development, although it does also cover contentious matters such as claims, coverage issues, arbitration, litigation, and insurance and reinsurance recoveries. In a stand out mandate, the practice acted for AXA as Mexican co-counsel on the insurance regulatory aspects related to its $15.3bn cash acquisition of XL. Current work includes acting as Mexican counsel to Singapore-based CMIG International (a subsidiary of China Minsheng Investment) on its $300m acquisition of the Latin American business operations of Old Mutual, the first acquisition by a Chinese company in Mexico. In other work, the firm is acting as Mexican co-counsel to Fidelity National Financial on regulatory issues arising from its $1.2bn acquisition of Stewart Information Services and on securing the regulatory approvals required from the Mexican insurance and antitrust regulators. Working between Mexico City and London, 'market leader' Yves Hayaux-Du-Tilly heads the practice, handling transactional work, dispute resolution, product development, regulatory and corporate matters, corporate governance and compliance. Covering contentious and non-contentious matters, Luciano Pérez Gómez is an ‘outstanding counsel. He builds strong relationships with his customers based on trust and great customer service’. London-based senior associate Juan Pablo Sáinz focuses on advising the London market on Mexican law in relation to coverage and regulatory issues and international transactions. Other names to note include Michell Nader, Julián Garza , Eduardo Villanueva Ortiz. The team also counts on an increasingly specialised team of intermediate associates. Clients include Assurant, Principal Financial Group, Laureate International Universities, Cardif México Seguros Generales, Cardif México Seguros Vida, and Dentegra Seguros Dentales.
Francisco Guerra-Fletes and José Luis Colin Vega co-lead the 19-strong team at insurance boutique Colin Vega Fletes Abogados. Formerly managing partner at DAC Beachcroft Mexico, Guerra-Fletes specialises in the contentious and non-contentious aspects of insurance liability, with a core practice involving environmental liability, professional liability, fraud, fidelity bonds, construction liability and defending professional negligence claims on behalf of insurers. Vega, in turn, is an expert in the resolution of conflicts deriving from financial fraud, political risks, K&RE, product liability and insurance disputes, with a current focus on cyber risks. In recent work the team has handled advice related to damages caused by a civil commotion; regarding an explosion caused by a fire on an offshore platform; and concerning a fire in a power plant. Notbaly, the firm also has an office in Madrid, Spain. Clients include Zurich, QBE, GNP, KOT Insurance, AIG, BUPA, Liberty, Lockton, HDI Mexico and Spain, Swiss Re Mexico, AT&T, Coca-Cola Femsa, Grupo Mexico Mining Company, BMS, Arthur Gallager, Herdez Group, AB InBev and numerous Lloyds syndicates.
DAC Beachcroft Mexico is lauded because it has ‘specialists for each branch’ of insurance law; moreover, the lawyers are ‘very detailed and accept other points of view to understand complex situations’. The 12-strong practice is co-led by Mexico City office managing partner Rodrigo Fernandez-Guerra, Jose Luis Arce Fernandez, Salvador Enrique Urbano (who made partner in May 2019), and Liliana Calvo Rojas; it is also able to rely on ithe firm's international network to provide a 360º approach that not only touches upon insurance and reinsurance, but also dispute resolution, civil and commercial litigation, corporate, real estate, criminal law, and e-commerce and cyber risks, thereby facilitating analysis of the civil, administrative, corporate, regulatory and criminal implications of a case and the potential impact on the cedants’ and/or reinsurers’ position. Recent mandates saw the team assist QBE UK and Tokyo Marine Kiln in a claim filed by one of the major contractors that manages and operates a gas pipeline running from the US to Mexico, as a result of dust reported when initiating operations; act for Zurich Mexico in a case involving losses caused by the theft of several million pesos from a local bank through the use of a malicious software and the breaching of weak security measures at the bank’s interconnected servers; and provide coverage advice to Validus/Talbot and to Mapfre Re Global regarding the events in Mexico during early January 2017 when petrol price rises resulting in acts of vandalism and robbery. Associates Obdulia Margarita Vega Lopez and Alfonso Loera Reyes are noted. Clients include AXA, Swiss Re, Munich Re, Lloyd’s Syndicates, XL Caitlin, Liberty, Allianz, AIG, Berkley Latina America and Caribbean, Beazley, Hiscox, Aspen, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, Seguros Sura.
Garza Tello-Clyde & Co Mexico
A bastion of the insurance and reinsurance sector, Garza Tello-Clyde & Co Mexico has offices in Mexico City and Ciudad del Carmen, and works closely with colleagues in London, a collaboration that was formalised with a merger in 2017 in the wake of a decade-long relationship. The six-strong team primarily advises national and international insurers and reinsurers on claims (including general liability, product liability, D&O, E&O and professional liability) in various lines of business. Recent highlights included representing the co-insurers and a local cedent, respectively, in legal proceedings relating to property damages arising from two hurricanes; and advising reinsurers on coverage matters concerning damages incurred as a result of the September 2017 earthquake. In other work, it assisted the insurer and reinsurers in a multimillion-dollar claim related to injuries suffered at Mexico City airport; and representing a liability insurance carrier in claims arising from the destruction by fire of a shopping centre. A reference in the market, Arturo Arista heads the practice and led all cases; key support comes from senior associate Daniel Ruíz Lares, who is also well regarded; other key names are Enrique Garza Ruiz Esparza and Fernando Escamilla Llano , who both have an oil-and-gas focus, and civil and commercial litigator Arturo Bello Tellez.
The 10-strong team at Bello, Gallardo, Bonequi y García, S.C. advises insurance institutions and insurance brokers on compliance, the structuring of new insurance products, administrative procedures and litigation, and transactions with insurance and surety companies, as well as on day-to-day corporate and regulatory matters, including via placing lawyers on secondment with clients, such as Aon, with which the firm has a longstanding relationship and to which it provides assistance on all insurance and reinsurance matters, including corporate, regulatory and compliance, employment, data protection, and litigation. In other work the practice advised: Preminen on reviewing and preparing insurance agreements to be executed with Qualitas Insurance and Rastreator; Seguros Banorte on several insurance litigation cases, including against CFE (Federal Electricity Commission); and it continued to assist Sedna Hospital in the due diligence of its insurance programme. The team is co-led by Miguel Gallardo Guerra, Juan Bonequi (litigation), and Federico de Palacio, with support from senior associate Javier Pérez. Other clients include Uber, AIG, Seguros Sura, Prudential Seguros Mexico, and Seguros Falabella.
Hogan Lovells 's clients appreciate the ‘skilled expertise in representing insurers and reinsurers in Mexico’; the lawyers ‘show responsibility and effectiveness when providing information and documentation’, and ‘the service is akin to that provided by a boutique firm: senior partners are always available and attentive to all matter details’. A small practice of four, it has expertise in the formation and acquisition of insurance, reinsurance, surety, and brokerage companies and agents, as well as on day-to-day compliance and regulatory issues, including the development of insurance products, policies, and contracts, and the representation of clients in audit reviews by the authorities. The team assisted Chubb Group regarding a large bank assurance contract with Citi, for the distribution of insurance and surety products in Mexico, valued at $110m; and it continued to advise Marsh Brockman & Schuh in the $42m acquisition of a Mexican broker. Other headline mandates include advising Chubb Group on its $943m corporate restructure and merger of the various regulated entities of the group. Practice head Carlos Ramos Miranda’s ‘closeness and creativity’is the subject of praise; however, fellow practitioner Eduardo Siqueiros T left the firm in January 2019. Other clients include Swiss Re Group, Lloyds, Insignia Life, Mapfre México, Solunion México Seguros de Crédito, Primero Fianzas, Pioneer México, Star Insurance.
Another practice that has the benefit of being part of an international network, Kennedys’ 15-strong Mexico City team handles claims and litigation defence across all insurance risks, such as general liability, construction, property and energy, aviation, marine, financial lines (including D&O, E&O and professional indemnity), life and health, and medical malpractice, for clients including Chubb, Zurich, Allianz, QBE, AXA, Tokyo Marina, Probitas 1492, BNP Paribas, Cardif, and Fidelitas Global. The team is valued for its ‘professional attention', offering 'the right advice in large losses' and its 'timely manner’. Mexican-born Michael Hennessy heads the team; qualified in England & Wales, he is in the process of qualifying in Mexico; support comes from Venezuela-qualified senior associate David Gonçalves, who heads the recoveries department.
The insurance practice at the full-service firm Galicia Abogados S.C. advises clients on insurance-related corporate matters, regulatory issues and in connection with the analysis and negotiation of claims. Clients have included HSBC Seguros, Cesce Seguros, MetLife Seguros, and Sura Seguros México. Practice head Humberto Pérez-Rocha sits on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of the latter company; his practice focuses primarily on transactional work.
As one client put it, Garrigues is ‘definitely "the new kid in town” and worth watching out for; the firm’s strong international brand gives the local team a good head start’. More specifically, clients appreciate the ‘close follow-up’, ‘clear thinking' and 'the deep analysis of complex problems’. The now 12-strong practice has developed since the arrival of senior associate Miguel Ángel de la Fuente (who co-leads the practice with Mario Juárez) from Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC in October 2016. While Juárez provides oversight as head of the banking and finance practice, de la Fuente is the specialist and the practice’s main pull: ‘he is a talented lawyer, with exceptional skills and a refreshing approach to solving problems’. The practice handles corporate, transactional and regulatory matters, along with the development of new insurance products. Recnet work has include advising US insurance company Global Benefits Group on its Mexican business expansion (including joining forces with AXA Seguros to offer international medical-expenses insurance policies on the Mexican market); and Asurion Group on product development for property and casualty (P&C) insurance products fronted through Allianz Mexico. Howden Broking Group is another client.
Gonzalez Alcocer y Retes y Estrada Sámano, SC
A boutique firm, Gonzalez Alcocer y Retes y Estrada Sámano, SC nevertheless has offices in Monterrey and Guadalajara as well as Mexico City; it specialises in insurance, covering both contentious and non-contentious matters. Past clients include Seguros Monterrey New York Life, National Unity Insurance Company, Afianzadora Insurgentes, Seguros Tepeyac, Multiasistencia, Fianzas Monterrey, and Zurich. Founding partner Aurelio González Alcocer has decades of experience in the sector, including 20 years in-house at Seguros Monterrey New York Life; specialised in insurance litigation, Oscar Arturo Pérez also has over two decades' experience; Pablo Retes González Cos handles advisory work, with niche expertise in coverage matters in the energy sector.
OCAMPO 1890, S. C.
The seven-strong team at OCAMPO 1890, S. C. gains its clients’ loyalty with its ‘extensive experience in the Mexican insurance industry and especially in the handling of claims'; they appreciate that 'the legal services cover the entire claim process’. The oldest insurance firm in Mexico, it covers contentious and non-contentious matters, including claims, reinsurance, surety, coverage analysis, litigation, regulatory, transactional and corporate work. Recent highlights included its continued assistance of key client Kot Insurance regarding the Abkatun 2 (Pemex) loss, which occurred in February 2016 as a consequence of a fire; the team successfully developed the argumentation successfully used to settle the case without litigation. It also dealt with a Pemex claim for over $300m, fianlly settled for $120m, on behalf of the same client. Another key client, Seguros El Potosí, retained the team for a case against Istmo Reinsurance which is inthe process of being declared bankrupt, as well as in another case involving the bankruptcy of CBL Insurance. It also acted as an insurance expert in arbitration brought by Omega against CFE. Head of Practice and firm CEO, Aldo Ocampo is valued by clients both professionally and personally; he is supported by associate Diana Ángeles. Other clients include Mapfre Teeyac, Berkley International, La Latinoamericana Seguros, Fianzas Dorama, Asurion, Nezter Seguros, Zurich, Chubb Seguros, and Chubb Fianzas.
With offices in Mexico City, Querétaro and Monterrey, the full-service Santamarina y Steta acts for insurance clients on contractual, corporate and regulatory matters, including in relation to developments issued by the CNSF and the General Direction of Insurance and Bonding of the Ministry of Finance, as well as advsing reinsurers on setting up in the country. The key practitioners are Francisco Torres in Monterrey and Carlos Olvera in Mexico City; Olvera combines his practice with disputes, money laundering prevention, and bankruptcy and insolvency, while Torres also handles competition and antitrust, M&A, and project finance and infrastructure; support comes from Estefanía Moreno in Monterrey.