Insurance in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Bell Gully‘s ‘strategically minded and careful nuanced approach‘ has helped solidify its strong market position and activity in high-profile M&A transactions and cutting-edge insurance cases, for example, advising on the AU$3.0 billion acquisition of AMP’s life insurance and related businesses by Resolution Life. It has also worked with the Insurance Council of New Zealand and the insurers on a landmark natural disaster response model agreement with the Earthquake Commission. The practice undertakes a substantial amount of insurance claims work, acting for Southern Response, Vero,  AMP Life and Southern Cross in complex court cases. Litigators David Friar and Simon Ladd are the key figures for significant corporate claims, are are supported by Glenn Joblin  on transactional matters and regulatory compliance. All individuals are based in Auckland.

Practice head(s):

David Friar; Simon Ladd

Key clients

AIA New Zealand Limited

AMP Life Limited and Resolution Life Group Holdings Limited

Aon plc

Cigna Corporation

IAG New Zealand Limited

Insurance Council of New Zealand

Medical Assurance Society NZ Limited

Southern Cross Medical Care Society

Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited

Tower Limited

Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for The Fletcher Construction Company Limited (FCC) in relation to a fire that began at the New Zealand International Conference Centre (NZICC) on 22 October 2019. This was one of the largest insurance events in New Zealand last year, and has attracted significant media attention.
  • Acting for Southern Response in the Dodds litigation, an important test case that was heard in the High Court last year and is now under appeal in the Court of Appeal. The case addresses a number of novel and cutting-edge insurance law principles, and is likely to affect thousands of similarly situated policyholders with many hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
  • Acted for Southern Response in the H&H case, a test case concerning the meaning of ‘as new’ under the AMI policy in the recently established Canterbury Earthquake Insurance Tribunal. The case was one of the first five matters heard before the Tribunal.

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand is highly acclaimed for its 'breadth of experience and expertise in relation to insurance matters' and its spread of work in regulatory compliance and complex litigation proceedings, often before the High Court and Court of Appeal, relating to property damage, product liability, and claims relating to earthquake damage. Auckland based Caroline Laband takes the lead on contentious insurance issues, with a emphasis on covering the financial and professional services sectors. 'Standout lawyer' Misha Henaghan is also of note for insurance claims in the same office. Wellington's team ins led by Peter Leman, who is 'great asset when it comes to general liability claims, statutory prosecutions and fire and general insurance'. Associates Shane Swinerd and Matthew Booth often assist Leman in contentious matters.  

Practice head(s):

Caroline Laband; Peter Leman

Other key lawyers:

Misha Henaghan; Shane Swinerd


‘DLA Piper has a strong Insurance practice. It has a wide range of people with different capabilities that can assist in a variety of claims. They have significant knowledge of the insurance industry so you get consistently good advice.’

‘Misha Henaghan is a standout lawyer. As a client, when I instruct Misha, I don’t have to worry about the case anymore. She provides accurate and practical advice that is easy to follow. She drives the case along without delays. She provides outstanding service.’

‘Peter Leman at DLA Piper has extensive knowledge of insurance law. He is a great asset when it comes to general liability claims, statutory prosecutions and fire and general insurance.’

‘DLA not only keeps all of the experts on task, but is also very impressive with the effort they put into understanding some of the very technical information being supplied by the experts, then linking that to policy response and legislative requirements. The technical aptitude in the Wellington office is exceptional.’

‘Peter Leman and Shane Swinerd are the partner and senior associate with whom I work with the most often. Peter has oversight of all of the claims that DLA is representing us on that I am currently handling. He is always available, even taking my calls when he was on holiday. Both Peter and Shane are exceptional at knowing the details of any given claim whenever I call, including all of the technical ones being passed on by experts.’

‘Peter Leman and Shane Swinerd are both excellent at creating a collaborative working relationship, with regular discussions and catch ups on all matters they are working on for us.’

‘DLA Piper NZ’s insurance lawyers are technically very strong, whilst being commercially focused, efficient and good to work with. The team offers a breadth of experience and expertise in relation to insurance matters.’

‘Caroline Laband is unflappable. She consistently provides high quality and commercial advice, often at short notice.’

‘Misha Henaghan’s advice is always well considered and comprehensive. She is also incredibly efficient.’

Key clients

IAG New Zealand Limited

AIG New Zealand Limited

Chubb Insurance New Zealand Limited

DUAL New Zealand Limited

Aon New Zealand

Zurich New Zealand

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited

Marsh New Zealand

Crombie Lockwood (New Zealand) Limited (part of AJ Gallagher Group)

Cunningham Lindsey New Zealand Limited


Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited

Lloyd’s of London: Various syndicates not individually named

AIA International Limited /AIA New Zealand Limited (acquired Sovereign Assurance Company Limited)

Steadfast Group

Tower Insurance Limited

International Underwriting Agencies Limited

Insurance Council of New Zealand

Holmes Consulting Group

Rothbury Group

Nautilus Marine Underwriting Agency Pty

Tokio Marine HCC

CNA Hardy

Work highlights

  • Recovery action for insured and uninsured losses on behalf of 78 plaintiffs against Orion (electricity lines company) and Leisure Investments (adventure park operator), resulting in judgment for $12.4m
  • Acting for a major defendant in New Zealand’s largest residential building claim and the largest ever building claim faced by Auckland Council (the primary defendant).
  • Act for Insurers, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co Ltd and Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd in response to claims relating to Emmons’ site in central Christchurch, which suffered earthquake damage.

Duncan Cotterill

Duncan Cotterill's 'technical expertise is at the highest level' and its sizeable team spread across 5 offices, is best know for its reputation in insurance claims and dispute work. The practice is actively developing its non-contentious offering with continued growth in instructions to assist insurance companies on their business-critical issues, such as corporate restructuring, resource management, property, employment related aspects. Jonathan Scragg 'is an excellent leader' in the Wellington office, and is recognised for his experience in professional indemnity insurance and disciplinary processes. Other key figures include Auckland based Duncan McGill, Paul Smith and Rob Coltman and in Wellington, Aaron Sherriff.


‘The firm has a strong specialist litigation team, including partner Jonathan Scragg and senior associate Edward Greig. It has a good national footprint. Outcomes and value set this firm apart.’

‘The team is personable, efficient and reliable.’

‘The firm has a broad range of insurance and other expertise, with a good geographical spread. Rob Coltman has excellent insurance law breadth and depth, and is both responsive and agile.’

‘The team is friendly, direct and knowledgable. The communication on files that they are assisting with is great. I feel comfortable putting a wide variety of work within the Insurance field to Duncan Cotterill in the knowledge that it is in safe hands.’

‘I use this firm due to its expertise in insurance law. They are always timely with updates and reporting. They are reliable and efficient, and provide comprehensive advice. I can trust them to deliver in accordance with instructions. I can rely on them to exercise commercial judgement.’

‘Duncan Cotterill has the advantage of having offices in all major cities in New Zealand, and it can provide an insurance expertise for most areas of professional business, from health to construction.’

‘In Auckland, Duncan McGill has a sound knowledge of our policies and practices. In Wellington both Jonathan Scragg and Aaron Sheriff work well with our other panel members.’

‘I have worked with Duncan Cotterill’s insurance team, which has many years of practical experience. I have found them to be dependable, reliable, and responsive.’

‘The show attentiveness to detail and are results-focused. The partners I have dealt with have performed well in Court in the past.’

‘What sets the team apart is the real focus as to best resolution while still having the firepower to see things through by way of expert surgical litigation, if matters cannot be sensibly resolved or protagonists get out of hand. I have been very impressed as to how they as a team operate not only working on matters with them but when being opposing counsel .The quality of their work and especially attention to detail is very reassuring. I very much recommend their services to clients and when conflict situations arises.’

‘There is a real ease of engagement as to getting the job done with excellence but without any ego or fuss. There is a genuine team spirit and have been most impressed with the interactions between the partners and associates as to ensuring the consistent high level of service. Obviously, Jonathan Scragg is a standout leader and partner – his reputation speaks for itself, but what is more impressive is that the team makes sure it has all the expertise on board and brings in the right skill set at the right level for the job including other partners outside the team, if need be to solve such wider issues if arising.’

‘The Duncan Cotterill insurance team comprises talented lawyers who understand the technicalities of insurance law but are also focused on achieving practical solutions for their clients.’

‘Rob Coltman is intelligent and practical, with good interpersonal skills so he can read the complexities of a dispute and adjust his strategy to suit.’

‘Paul Smith is calm, measured, smart.’

‘Senior associate Simon Connolly is personable and clever, practical, excellent to work with.’

‘Chris Shannon is sensible, friendly and excellent to work with.’

‘Duncan Coterrill lawyers have all the necessary skill and ability that others have, however they approach working with our organisation in a collaborative way. They are sensitive to the needs of our clients. They are very people-friendly – which is important to us and our clients. They are pragmatic and sensible so you get value for money and excellent resolutions in a timely way.’

‘Jonathan Scragg is excellent – he is involved at a senior level in the insurance industry and so he understands the local and international drivers. He works incredibly hard and is highly sought after, with great skill in providing indemnity advice. Has a good strategic head and commercial know-how.’

‘Duncan Cotterill has as strong insurance practice covering a range of areas, including professional indemnity, medical malpractice, employments disputes liability, statutory liability and general liability.’

‘Aaron Sheriff is great to deal with. He gets to grips with the details on large and complex claims and writes thorough reports of the kind we need for our reinsurers. He is good at keeping us updated on progress and will often discuss maters before reporting in writing.’

‘Duncan McGill is very experienced in both professional indemnity and medical malpractice claims and handles a large number of such claims for us.’

‘The team at Duncan Cotterill is fantastic. They are professional yet personable and have collectively achieved excellent results for our clients.’

‘The firm has a strong presence in, and understanding of, the insurance world. Alyeath Foote, Duncan McGill and Jonathan Scragg are all relatable, commercial and skilled operators, with a strong understanding of insurance dispute issues and their drivers.’

‘I have been instructed by Ayleath Foote of the firms’s Christchurch litigation practice. Ayleath is a very competent and conscientious partner.’

‘Ayleath Foote: has wide experience and considerable wisdom.’

‘The partners I deal with are very professional and capable, and provide backup by engaging equally professional employees or associates. This probably does not make the firm unique so much as reinforce its commitment to ensuring the quality of service top legal firms are presumed to offer.’

‘My recent dealings have been with Aaron Sherriff who brings real enthusiasm to his work and an enquiring mind which wants to understand – and does understand – even obscure technical issues that arise. Jonathan Scragg is another who springs to mind in this context as does Duncan McGill.’

‘Duncan Cotterill has a friendly and approachable team. The strengths that Duncan Cotterill’s team holds are the great communication skills that their staff hold in their ability to concisely and on a timely basis keep us up to date on matters. Their team have great people skills. We often refer matters to Duncan Cotterill which are of a sensitive nature and our clients feel supported and heard by the lawyers who assist them. Certain members of the team have great creativity in which they propose strategies on how to handle matters and have ‘outside the box’ moments which work out really well. Whilst you deal with someone out of one office, you know they have the support and knowledge of others in the team at other locations. The atmosphere is not one of competition but working together.’

‘Duncan McGill has an exceptional amount of knowledge in the areas he works in. He takes the time to walk through difficult circumstances with you and the best approach to take to resolve them. Because of his knowledge you have confidence in the work that he completes and that he will get the best resolution for the client.’

‘Duncan Cotterill has a number of talented lawyers and the firm is approachable, reliable, efficient, pleasant to deal with, knowledgeable and across the latest developments in cases and legislation changes. The firm is very experienced in the insurance space and highly regarded in the market. The firm has also presented to our claims team and underwriters on a number of occasions regarding developments in the employment and health and safety space. I enjoy working with Duncan Cotterill and appreciate their succinct advice and approachability and pragmatic and commercial resolution strategies.’

‘I have worked with Duncan McGill on a number of professional indemnity and health & safety prosecution matters. Duncan is very knowledgeable, approachable and offers commercial and pragmatic solutions in a concise and relevant way.’

‘I have worked recently with Chris Shannon on a health & safety prosecution matter and Chris achieved an excellent outcome for us. He was pleasant to work with, very knowledgeable in this area, gave practical advice and is an excellent communicator.’

‘I have worked with Jonathan Scragg on a number of professional indemnity matters and Jonathan is very knowledgeable, always willing to assist, an excellent communicator and offers sound resolution strategies that we have appreciated.’

‘Duncan Cotterill has partners who are very experienced in insurance litigation. Their support staff are very capable as well. They cater for NZ widely in terms of geography, providing a nationwide service that we require.’

‘We find that working with Duncan McGill and Jonathan Scragg is a great pleasure, as they deliver top-notch service to us and our clients.’

‘Duncan Cotterill runs a very efficient insurance practice – partners are hands-on and practical, recognising the vast majority of insurance problems call out for sensible and efficient resolution in equal measure.’

‘I highlight insurance partners Jonathan Scragg, Duncan McGill and Ayleath Foote – all seasoned litigators, know what to fight and what to settle, all taking a no-nonsense approach which seems to be a hallmark. In particular, Jonathan brings a wise head to the table and runs a very talented team, including associate Edward Greig.’

‘A large team with a broad range of skills and experience within the insurance litigation market, with a diverse range of insurer clients. It provides good judgment and supervision from the top down. Jonathan Scragg a leader within the team.’

Key clients






State Insurance



Crombie Lockwood



Vero liability

Partners Life


NZI Liability

Berkshire Hathaway

FMG Insurance

Medical Assurance Society

Insurance Council of New Zealand

Work highlights

  • Instructed by a Regional Council’s insurer to act in the defence of charges brought by Worksafe alleging a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 following the death of a rubbish collector on a Council sub-contracted vehicle.

Fee Langstone

Specialist insurance and litigation practice, Fee Langstonemanages to combine solid traditional advice with a fresh flexible approach‘ is  ‘among the most experienced insurance teams in New Zealand‘. The firm has a strong roster large international and domestic insurance companies clients, among them, Allianz New Zealand, AXA Climate and Berkshire Hathaway Speciality Insurance. Phillipa Fee is a top advocate for representation of professionals in connection with claims for negligence and disciplinary complaints. She also advises insurers who have an obligation to advance defence costs under a D&O policy. Policy review and product liability disputes are the other areas of expertise. Fellow Auckland insurance experts, name partner Craig Langstone, Pauline Davies, Cecily Brick and Matthew Atkinson  comprise the standout practice which ‘punch well above its weight‘.

Practice head(s):

Philippa Fee; Craig Langstone


‘A very well respected specialist insurance law firm.’

‘Craig Langstone is well respected in the industry, trusted by insurers, responsive and easy to contact. Pauline Davies is the best marine insurance lawyer in the country.’

‘Fee Langstone are the largest insurance litigation firm I work with. They have an outstanding knowledge of insurance policy response capabilities and litigation issues, they easily and effortlessly deal with some large and complex issues in an accurate and timely manner. Fee Langstone have the resources to deal with any file no matter how large it is.’

‘The partners are all highly skilled, knowledgeable, energetic and capable individuals. The associates are skilled and focussed individuals. Partners I regularly work with are Craig Langstone, Philippa Fee, Russell Stewart and Matthew Atkinson.’

‘Fee Langstone’s depth of experience and ability in insurance in the New Zealand market is unrivalled. Insurers can be confident that whatever the issue, someone in Fee Langstone’s team will be to deal with it expertly and effectively.’

‘Cecily Brick is a fabulous insurance lawyer with great depth of understanding, absolutely sound judgment, and excellent strategic thinking. Cecily has almost unrivalled technical knowledge. Cecily manages to balance being strongly intellectual with an ability to connect with people and communicate clearly and simply. Cecily provides QC-level service, at law firm-level cost.’

‘Fee Langstone has an excellent set of partners who each have their own areas of expertise and skills. They understand the need for insurers well and execute each instruction well by utilising their breadth of knowledge and expertise in dispute resolution. They are practical and pragmatic in their approach and I would rank them as the top-performing insurance practice when compared to other firms in the same field.’

‘Philippa Fee, Russell Stewart, Virginia Wethey, Craig Langstone and Matt Atkinson are all standout partners. They are thorough in their work and are happy to go above and beyond to ensure that we do right by our customers. This is a highly talented and skilled group of partners who are a real asset to the industry.’

‘Fee Langstone has a really strong team of insurance specialists. They know the industry and the law very well. If we need specialist advice on tricky indemnity issues, they are our go-to firm.’

‘Philippa Fee has years of experience in this area and knows all there is to know about insurance law. She gives carefully considered advice utilising all of that experience. Virginia Wethey deals with complex matters and provides understandable and practical advice.’

‘Fee Langstone always provides prompt responses. Their time frames for delivery of advice etc are genuine and their advice is reliable.’

‘Their capabilities offer a wide range of knowledge over our many product lines.’

‘Philippa Fee is key to many of our complex claims outcomes. She provides reliable advice and in a timely manner. Philippa is always approachable and her responses are considered and this has won many battles for us on policy wording interpretation.’

‘Philippa Fee takes the time to point out any wording changes if and when necessary whilst dealing with our complex claims situations.’

‘Fee Langstone has a long history in the New Zealand insurance market and have a strong reputation as a leading specialist firm. Philippa Fee has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is an extremely talented lawyer. She offers pragmatic and commercial approaches to the resolution of insurance disputes.’

‘Philippa Fee has a wealth of knowledge and experience and offers pragmatic and commercial approaches to the resolution of insurance disputes. We turn to Philippa on complex coverage issues knowing that Philippa will able to digest and analyse a vast amount of information and provide concise and accurate conclusions.’

‘Matt Atkinson is reliable and approachable and has great knowledge in the PI space and has worked on several architects and engineers PI claims for us. Virginia Wethey is also reliable and provides solid practical and commercial solutions. Angus Wakeman is also pleasant to work with and has an excellent writing style and can grapple with complex legal issues.’

‘The team at Fee Langstone is great to deal with. Phillippa Fee, Craig Langstone, Matthew Atkinson and Viginia Wetney provide a good skill set for us and our clients.’

‘The team is very experienced and customer-friendly.’

‘A specialist in insurance law providing respected opinions.’

Key clients



AIG Australia

AIG Europe (UK) Ltd

Allianz New Zealand

Allianz Australia Ltd

Antares Managing Agency Ltd

Argo International

Berkshire Hathaway

Chubb Insurance NZ

Club Marine Ltd

Crombie Lockwood

Delta Insurance

FMG Insurance

General Reinsurance Corporation


Lloyds of London


Newline Syndicate 1218

NZI & NZI Marine

QBE European Operations

QBE Insurance (Australia )Ltd

QBE Smartpak

Southern Cross Benefits

Steadfast Group

Tokio Marine & Nichido

Vero Insurance (New Zealand) / Suncorp

Zurich New Zealand

Work highlights

  • Continuing the defence of Vero Insurance against a $6M claim for earthquake damage to an apartment complex in Christchurch, which is the subject of proceedings in the High Court.
  • Acting for QBE in respect of a claim brought by Body Corporate 423090 following earthquake damage sustained to the Body Corp’s building in Christchurch known as Pacific Tower.

Wotton + Kearney

Wotton + Kearney fields 'insurance professionals who lead the industry with a broad range of experts across all areas of insurance law'. The firm is acts for leading global and London market insurers, as well as local brokers and corporate insureds in respect of general liability, financial lines (including D&O and professional indemnity), complex property and MDBI claims, cyber/privacy claims, product liability and subrogated recoveries. Sean O’Sullivan leads the medico-legal practice from Wellington, with support from Auckland based partners, Antony Holden, whose 'deep experience enables him to make first rate pragmatic and informed decisions' representing insurers on property and financial lines issues, professional indemnity specialist Mathew Francis, and employment lawyer Rebecca Scott. Sophie Lucas, Richard Flinn and senior associate Natasha Cannon provide valuable assistance in the Wellington office.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Flinn; Natasha Cannon


‘The firm has a strong team with a good breadth of knowledge across the various industry sectors we deal with. Having offices in main cities in New Zealand helps their reach in comparison with other firms. The lawyers are approachable and good communicators.’

‘Antony Holden is a very clever and well-regarded lawyer in New Zealand. He has a great team that work with him and their ability to provide concise and well thought out legal advice around both coverage and also recovery claims is second to none. More recently, special counsel Hugh King has also acted on our behalf and proven to be very proactive in his approach to dealing with certain issues which arise which has proven to be very helpful in dealing with potentially difficult situations.’

‘The team is knowledgeable, approachable, willing to assist and have presented seminars to our company on a regular basis. Among its unique aspects are its knowledge and specialty in the cyber space and also its connection with Wotton + Kearney Australia, which helps us to keep up-to-date with developments in the Australian jurisdiction, which often flow to the New Zealand market. The firm is trustworthy – we know we can turn the team for assistance and get an excellent level of service with a fast turnaround time.’

Rebecca Scott is excellent in the employment liability space. Her knowledge and practical, commercial solutions have helped us settle claims with good results recently.’

‘Mark Anderson is excellent in the cyber and statutory liability space. His knowledge, availability and fast turnaround response times is appreciated and valued.’

‘Mathew Francis has assisted recently and his knowledge in the space was excellent and the structure of his opinion and practical solutions for resolution were appreciated.’

‘A rising star of the firm is senior associate Natasha Cannon who has assisted us often in the real estate space and is approachable, offering practical solutions for resolution.’

‘The lawyers are easy to deal with at any level and always willing to assist. Their skill sets and expertise are varied and of high quality.’

‘I mainly instruct Andrew Moore as he is passionate about property claims and undertakes extensive research. He is approachable and his advice can be relied on. Andrew listens to instructions and issue advice accordingly, rather than acting outside of the remit.’

‘The firm is incredibly professional in how it operates and provides very professional reports that are timely and easy to understand for all levels of audience.’

‘Andrew Moore is an incredibly talented and provides opinions that are clear and concise. Antony Holden also provides a well thought out and holistic approach.’

‘A specialist insurance firm that appreciates the needs of its particular clients and works hard to keep its place as a top NZ insurance firm.’

‘Mathew Francis has arguably the best technical legal and insurance knowledge in the market. He works hard to get pragmatic results.’

‘Rebecca Scott is an expert in the niche market of employment dispute litigation for insurance, as well as more general civil litigation. Rebecca is diligent and also works hard to achieve pragmatic cost effective results.’

Key clients

AIG New Zealand


Crombie Lockwood / AJ Gallagher & Co

Chubb Insurance

DUAL New Zealand

MS Amlin (Lloyd’s)

Munich Re

QBE Syndicate 386 (Lloyd’s)

Vero Liability New Zealand

Zurich Australian Insurance

Work highlights

  • Acting for structural and civil engineering firm MSC Consulting Group Ltd and their insurers in a negligence claim relating to seismic assessments.
  • Acting for London Market insurers to defend multi-million dollar claims and a representative action involving high profile defective and leaky buildings.
  • Defending a Singapore based company, Raam Chem Pte Limited, in a claim and recovery involving a contaminated fungicide imported into New Zealand.

Gilbert Walker

Gilbert Walker's 'greatest strength is the uniformly high quality of its partners'; Matthew Harris, Iva Rosic and Martin Smith who are leading advocates in complex disputed insurance matters, representing domestic insurers such as Vero Liability, Tower Insurance, IAG and Aon in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Indemnity and liability disputes, property damages and earthquake-related claims make up the bulk of instructions.


‘All three partners at Gilbert Walker are experienced insurance litigators. Matthew Harris stands out for his trial experience in insurance matters.’

‘Gilbert Walker’s greatest strength is the uniformly high quality of its partners, over the years and with the three current partners.’

Key clients

Vero Liability

Tower Insurance




Work highlights

  • Advised major corporates, including listed issuers, and a major insurance broker on the response of their policy wordings to business interruption losses arising out of the Covid- 19 pandemic.
  • Engaged by the liability insurer of Tauranga City Council to advice the insurer and negotiate with its insured on the indemnified portion of a building defects claim exceeding $90m.
  • Continue to act for Tower Insurance in defending High Court and Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal proceedings brought against it by policy holders arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry 'has a huge wealth of knowledge and experience in insurance law and litigation', and is particularly well known for its focus on insurance matters relating to the construction and transport sectors. It also demonstrates solid capability in professional indemnity and business interruption matters, as well as a steady stream of instructions on statutory liability, health and safe and cyber risk and breaches. The Auckland based four partner team comprises of litigator Alan Sherlock; professional indemnity specialists Helen Macfarlane  and Christina Bryant , and Simon Cartwright , who advises on marine insurance. Special counsel Stephanie Corban is a 'dependable and diligent lawyer' and is recommended for negligence claims and advising on policy coverage issues.

Practice head(s):

Alan Sherlock; Helen Macfarlane

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Corban; Christina Bryant


‘Stephanie Corban and Alan Sherlock have an excellent understanding of the technical aspects of our claims and take a considered approach to resolution.’

‘Stephanie Corban is a dependable, diligent lawyer, with a great approach to client care.’

‘The insurance team at Hesketh Henry has a huge wealth of knowledge and experience in insurance law and litigation. They also have the ability to tap into the other areas of practice within the firm, for example, the property team where there is an insurance issue with an overlay of property law.’

‘Stephanie Corban consistently provides timely, concise and pragmatic advice working through complex issues to deliver a way forward which is best for our business. She has a clear, calm and intellectual approach to all her interactions and is very well respected by everyone she has had dealings with in our organisation.’

Key clients

Suncorp Group New Zealand Limited

Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (including Vero Marine)

AA Insurance Limited

AIG Insurance Limited

Chubb Insurance New Zealand Limited

Underwriting Agencies of Australia Pty Limited / Underwriting Agencies of New Zealand Limited

Dual New Zealand Limited

AmTrust International

Charterers P & I Club

Lexis Nexis New Zealand Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd (a subsidiary of Suncorp Group) and AA Insurance Ltd in various proceedings before the High Court in relation claims arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes.
  • Instructed by AIG to act as defence counsel for claims made against members of a national network of insured law firms.
  • Advised Charterers P & I Club and its assured TPT Shipping Ltd in relation to claims valued at US$15 million and appeared in High Court proceedings and managed proceedings in England.


MinterEllisonRuddWatts has 'deep expertise in insurance claims advocacy work' as well as capability in design, drafting and interpretation of insurance policies. It is often appointed to resolve large insurance and broker negligence disputes and maintains a busy practice in reinsurance, property, professional indemnity and general liability work. Andrew Horne leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Horne


‘MinterEllisonRuddWatts has deep expertise, particularly in insurance claims advocacy work. They have excellent attention to detail and the high pressured nature of litigation and turnaround times, to ensure that our clients are able to respond promptly to insurers. Their advice is both spot on from a legal perspective and also commercially practical and can be applied by our clients- they have their eye on the end outcome at all times.’

‘Andrew Horne provides great service, he qualifies with real world examples and global quality feedback. He is busy but is generally very quick to respond and his turnaround time is excellent’

Key clients

Earthquake Commission (EQC)

Marsh Limited

Aon New Zealand

Youi Insurance

AMP Life

Vibe Services Management Limited (Lloyd’s)

AIG Insurance

AIA Insurance

Medical Assurance Society New Zealand

PIC Insurance Brokers

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lloyd’s syndicates in resolving a high-profile, $20m million claim by a seed merchant, PGG Wrightson, resulting from mis-sold seed that affected over 500 farming operations.
  • Acting for the owners of a large, historic apartment complex in Auckland affected by two substantial storm events which caused widespread damage to the building and resulted in insurance claims for physical damage and temporary accommodation costs.
  • Acting for PIC Insurance Brokers in defending a fourth party claim brought against it by a real estate agency, Synergy. Synergy is being sued by its former clients, the vendors of a property near Queenstown, who in turn are being sued by the purchasers for various alleged misrepresentations, including in relation to the weathertightness of the property.


Robertsons is 'a highly specialised and innovative boutique' led by Michael Robertson and Helen Twomey , 'first rate lawyers' with a wealth of experience practising exclusively in the insurance sector. Both partners advise on the full spectrum of liability insurance and for a range of professions and industries in drafting policies, risk management and claims resolution, with niche expertise in directors and officers’ liability. Property damage claims and aviation liability matters are the other areas of work.

Practice head(s):

Michael Robertson; Helen Twomey


‘Robertsons is a highly specialised and innovative boutique Auckland based insurance law firm. they have over the last few years expanded their practice by working with other insurance law firms to provide services in other geographic locations such as Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.’

‘This practice specialises in Liability and is always at the leading edge of innovation. They are always looking at new ways to do things and are continually suggesting alternatives to the norm.’

‘Michael Robertson – Completely proficient and knowledgeable in the matters of insurance and indemnity.’

‘I have worked primarily with the two partners, Michael Robertson and Helen Twomey, both of whom are first rate lawyers and dedicated service providers.’

Key clients

QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (in respect of both New Zealand and Australian claims)

Ando Insurance Group Limited

Allianz New Zealand

Aioi Nissay Dowa Management (NZ) Limited

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co Limited

Markel Syndicate 3000 at Lloyd’s

Travelers Insurance Company Limited

WRB Underwriting

Willis Towers Watson

Lumley General Insurance (N.Z.) Limited and NZI, both businesses divisions of IAG New Zealand Limited

Delta Insurance New Zealand Limited

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Crow Horwath

Work highlights

  • Acted for Marshalls Excavating Ltd, an excavation and transport company, in the defence of a prosecution by the Southland Regional Council under the Resource Management Act 1991(the RMA) for discharging contaminated soil onto a property.

Russell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh's fields a multi-disciplinary team that combines the strengths of litigation, regulatory and corporate experts to act for insurers, corporates and other industry players on complex insurance disputes and transactions. The firm enjoys a strong relationship with Earthquake Commission (EQC), compulsory first layer natural disaster insurance for home owners, and continues to advise on EQC's statutory obligations and a range of other commercial and regulatory matters, the most recent of which saw the team prepare an innovative natural disaster insurance claims model that will see EQC work in partnership with private insurers covering 99.5% of the market. Marika Eastwick-Field is Auckland co-heads the team alongside Wellington based Nathaniel Walker, specialising on significant insurance coverage disputes.


‘Marika Eastwick-Field ran our insurance dispute. She did great work and also worked well with our team and our QC.’

Key clients

Earthquake Commission

Work highlights

  • Represented EQC in The Tower v EQC litigation concerns a more-than-$80m claim by Tower for reimbursement of amounts it says it “spent fixing earthquake-damaged homes in Canterbury”. The proceedings were filed in March 2020. The proceedings relate to the parties’ settlement of a significant number of insurance claims, and give rise to complex legal issues, difficult factual questions, and unique case-management challenges.
  • Advised National Australia Bank Limited on the sale of its New Zealand life insurance business to Partners Life Limited.
  • Advising Willis Towers Watson on its New Zealand clearance application in relation to the global acquisition by Aon. The acquisition involves combining two of the four major parties in this industry across New Zealand and global markets.

Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson is a 'well resourced firm with good technical expertise' in insurance claims, M&A in the insurance sector, product liability management and regulatory issues. Helen Smith is highly experienced in professional indemnity claims, often acting for insurers, with additional expertise in the areas of public and statutory liability, D&O and property construction. Special counsel Robert Gapes is a prominent product liability lawyer, and is supported by Jania Baigent, a top counsel for insurers in defending and resolving claims, and corporate partner James Hawes. All individuals are based in Auckland.

Practice head(s):

Helen Smith; Robert Gapes

Other key lawyers:

Jania Baigent; James Hawes


‘Helen is good for complex construction related professional indemnity claims.’

‘Helen Smith – great to deal with, gets good results’

‘Well resourced firm with good technical expertise’

Key clients

Financial Markets Authority

Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (a global insurer listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange)

Wellington City Council

Fidelity Life Assurance Company Ltd

HDI Global SE (including HDI-Gerling)

nib Holdings

Wesfarmers General Insurance Limited


GE Finance and Insurance

Southern Cross Health Insurance

Work highlights

Wilson Harle

Wilson Harle's lawyers are 'efficient, responsive and have an excellent sense of the client's needs' and as 'one of the top litigation firms in the country', have abundant experience representing domestic and international insurers, as well as insured executives in relation to investigations or claims, including when there are related D&O insurance coverage issues. The firm is particularly skilled in shipping, fraud (including arson and insurance fraud), and international trade insurance issues. Ian Denton handles coverage disputes, with commercial litigators Chris BrowneAllison Ferguson and Felicity Monteiro also handling a significant amount of insurance claims.


‘Wilson Harle are simply one of the top litigation firms in the country. The compare favourably or better than the litigation departments of the top-5 major national firms. They are efficient, responsive and have an excellent sense of the client’s needs.’

Allison Ferguson is a stand out litigation partner. She is smart, efficient and responsive, and fantastic at understanding and meeting client’s expectations.’

Key clients

Napier City Council

Marsh Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Seeka Ltd in respect of its insurance cover for a claim in relation to the alleged loss of kiwifruit that prematurely ripened in a coolstore purchased by Seeka.
  • Acting for Callaghan Innovation, a Crown Entity, in an appeal from a High Court judgment we obtained on Callaghan’s behalf. This appeal is the final stage of the litigation Callaghan has defended in relation to its termination of a funding grant to Trends Publishing. Its defence has been important to establish its right to enforce standards to protect public money paid under the grants it administers.
  • Acted for the Standard Club, a P & I insurer, in an admiralty proceeding brought against a vessel in New Zealand for misdelivery of cargo. The proceeding was stayed in favour of London Arbitration by consent following an application seeking a stay was filed on behalf of the vessel.

Wynn Williams

Wynn Williams' litigation group operates out of Auckland and Christchurch, with the latter office fast developing its capability in earthquake and natural disaster related claims, and increasing involvement in the unique insurance issues resulting from the Canterbury earthquakes. The firm operates across all insurance disciplines, including financial lines, fraud, cyber and crime, public (casualty) and statutory liability. The practice has niche expertise advising estate agents and financial advisers on professional indemnity matters. Richard Hern in Auckland and Emily Walton , in Christchurch, are the main contacts.  

Practice head(s):

Emily Walton; Richard Hern


‘I have always believed that Richard Hern and his team provided excellent knowledge and written advice. Their service is also impeccable which is very important at the level that they are being engaged at, and a prompt yet full explanation is always needed. When being compared to other firms, I find Wynn Williams excels with its service. Although other firms have excellent knowledge and expertise within their organisations, some of these other firms can be quite slow in providing assistance which can make interested parties uneasy.’

‘Richard Hern is our main contact at Wynn Williams. I find Richard very knowledgeable and efficient, and a pleasure to deal with. When reading his legal advice, I appreciate that they are very easy to follow and understand which is important as it is my role to relay this to interested parties such as the insurer, and/or the end customer. I have no hesitation with appointing Richard and his team on matters which require legal advice, when a fair approach to the claim is being sought.’

‘The team is approachable, friendly, reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable and up-to-date on current market developments. I think the wealth of knowledge around the real estate market and insureds is a unique feature of the firm.’

‘I have enjoyed working with Richard Hern. He is very approachable and willing to assist and offer knowledge and experience. His expertise in the real estate agent space is extremely helpful.’

‘Senior associate Richard Hargreaves appears to be a rising star in the firm. His practical and pragmatic solutions are very helpful and we have settled some claims with good results recently thanks to Richard’s advice. His approach is very cheerful and pleasant too.’

‘I have enjoyed working with senior associate Ellie Harrison and her past experience working for a Crown Prosecution firm has been helpful in the statutory liability space where her advice has been very pragmatic.’

‘Wynn Williams has amongst its team some people who know real estate very well and are very experienced in dealing with a wide range of real estate issues and disputes. Importantly, our insurer also recognises that expertise and is comfortable with us requesting their involvement in insurance cases.’

‘Richard Hern is an expert in dealing with ‘vexatious litigants’. He has excellent knowledge of real estate issues and disputes generally and has provided expert assistance to us in dealing with such matters.’

Key clients

AIG and its insured, a national building inspection company

NZ Brokers / Newline Underwriting

NZI Liability and its insured builder Jeremy Parratt

AIG and its insured Cedenco

AIG and its insured, a firm of accountants

Provident Insurance

AIG and its insured Robyn Bond

AIG and its insured L J Hooker Dunedin

AIG and its insured Cleaver Richards Ltd

Delta and its insured, an architect

Work highlights