Insurance: non-contentious in United States
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is 'well known and highly thought of' for its insurance sector expertise in connection with M&A transactions, financings and capital markets matters, as well as tax and regulatory advice. Major recent highlights for the team have seen John Vasily and David Grosgold advise AXA on its $15.3bn acquisition of Bermuda-based insurer XL Group, while also acting for AIG on its $5.56bn purchase of Validus Group. Thomas Kelly led for Global Atlantic Financial Group on the reinsurance of $9bn worth of fixed annuities and reserves of Talcott Resolution, The Hartford’s run-off life and annuity businesses, following its sale to a group of investors. Nicholas Potter advised Morgan Stanley & Co on its role as financial advisor to Assurant in relation to its $2.5bn acquisition of The Warranty Group. Alexander Cochran and Marilyn Lion, who act for clients such as Wilton Re and The Carlyle Group, are up-and-coming partners in the insurance transactions space. All mentioned partners are based in New York.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
The six-partner insurance team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is best known for its transactional strength, especially for 'bet-the-company' M&A, finance and private equity matters, as well as restructurings and reorganizations. Team lead Todd Freed and partner Michael Homison advised Express Scripts Holding Company on its $67bn acquisition by Cigna Corporation, while Jon Hlafter worked with Freed on XL Group's $15.7bn sale to AXA. Another highlight was Dwight Yoo's and Robert Sullivan's work for the joint bookrunners - including Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Securities - for Metropolitan Life Global Funding I's $1bn offering of floating rate notes. All partners are based in New York.
The 'combination of exceptionally deep transactional experience, outstanding legal skills and thorough business understanding' makes Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's 'client-focused' insurance practice 'one of the best in the market'. The team, which focuses on M&A, capital markets and alternative risk transfer matters, is also recommended for its 'very strong insurance regulatory practice' and 'involvement in many of the largest and most complex transactions in recent years'. The client base ranges from life, P&C and financial guaranty insurers to private equity investors, financial funds and commercial and investment banks. Michael Groll took a lead role for Aspen Insurance Holdings on its $2.6bn sale to Apollo Global Management, while 'highly knowledgeable and responsive' John Schwolsky advised on the $2.5bn merger of client Assurant and The Warranty Group. Alexander Dye, who 'inspires the confidence of boards of directors and is able to keep calm under pressure', acted for Protective Life Corporation on a $1.17bn reinsurance transaction which involved the acquisition of the individual life and annuity business of Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. All mentioned partners are based in New York.
The insurance team at Eversheds Sutherland handles transactions and restructurings, with particular expertise in pension risk transfers, while also providing regulatory guidance on issues such as the development of new insurance products and technologies. Jim Dwyer and Cynthia Shoss led on Aflac's restructuring of its Japanese insurance business branch operations, while Dwyer also assisted Symetra Life Insurance Company with the transfer of its structured settlement and income annuity business to Resolution Re. P&C insurance team lead John Pruitt and registered insurance products expert Stephen Roth are other names to note. All individuals except Washington DC-based Roth are located in New York.
The 'knowledgeable, responsive and experienced' team at Mayer Brown 'gives great advice to clients', which include insurers and reinsurers, financial institutions and insurance brokers, as well as private equity firms and investment funds. The practice covers M&A, corporate finance, structured reinsurance and pension risk transfer transactions, as well as capital markets offerings, regulatory advice, investments and company formations. In a recent highlight, New York partner Stephen Rooney assisted The Hartford Financial Services Group with the $2.1bn acquisition of The Navigators Group, while David Alberts advised Premia Holdings on its purchase of Alan Gray from Vanbridge. 'Sound regulatory advisor' Lawrence Hamilton in Chicago represented Everest Re in the negotiation of a strategic collaboration agreement with Hudson Structured Capital Management regarding opportunities in the insurtech sector. The team received a major boost in early 2019 with the addition of three partners from Dentons - Kara Baysinger in San Francisco, Stephanie Duchene in Los Angeles and Matthew Gaul in New York.
Clifford Chance's multi-disciplinary insurance team stands of for 'responsiveness', 'thorough subject matter expertise', 'excellent drafting skills' and 'first-rate advice'. The practice has a particular focus on the development of new corporate and transactional structures tailored to the sector, as well as facilitating capital flow and alternative investment strategies for insurers and reinsurers operating in the life and P&C markets. The core areas are complemented by insurance-related employment, real estate and tax advice. Gary Boss, who 'is on top of every issue and ensures high-quality advice by all involved practice areas', and 'thorough' senior associate Analisa Dillingham advised Armour Group Holdings on the $500m sale of ILS Investment Management, while also continuing to act for Slice Insurance Technologies in the structuring of its partnership with XL Catlin on a unique cloud-based cyber insurance solution. 'Helpful and hard-working underwriting attorney' Joseph Cosentino and insurance finance advisor Nicholas Williams are also key partners in New York.
DLA Piper LLP (US)
The cross-disciplinary practice at DLA Piper LLP (US) stands out for its experience in insurtech, venture capital and intellectual property matters, while also advising on M&A, corporate reorganizations, risk management, product development and regulation. Key New York partner David Luce's recent highlights include a role for GC Securities - a division of MMC Securities - on the first pure wildfire exposed catastrophe bond, as well as advising Fannie Mae on the first transaction in a pilot program to use enterprise paid mortgage insurance in place of policies on individual mortgage loans. Other notable individuals include David Mendelsohn and Stephen Schwab in Chicago, and Kathleen Birrane in the Baltimore office.
Focusing on M&A, capital markets and corporate management advice for large insurance companies, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP operates in the P&C, life and annuity, health, brokerage and third-party areas in the sector. Private equity specialist Gary Horowitz advised on the $6.7bn sale of Sedgwick to a consortium led by Carlyle, while he also acted for JP Morgan Securities as financial advisor to Validus in relation to its $5.56bn acquisition by AIG. Senior counsel Steven DeLott, meanwhile, advised a group of underwriters, led by Barclays Capital, on Willis North America's $1bn senior notes offering. Both lawyers are based in New York.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Best known for its experience in insurance M&A, the practice group at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP also handles financial restructuring work, insolvency cases and advice on regulatory frameworks and risk management for a client portfolio including insurers, reinsurers, financial service providers, investment banks and a variety of funds. Bradley Kulman was part of team that acted for Atlas Merchant Capital as co-lead investor in a consortium which acquired Talcott Resolution from The Hartford for $2.05bn. Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company are also clients of the firm. Insurance disputes specialist Huhnsik Chung joined from Baker McKenzie LLP in June 2018. All mentioned attorneys are based in New York. In April 2019, former practice head Bernhardt Nadell moved to King & Spalding LLP.
Dentons primarily operates in the regulatory insurance space and also advises on investment transactions, product and market strategies, as well as M&A matters and insurtech innovations. Risk transfer expert Bruce Baty leads the insurance sector group out of the firm's Kansas base following the departure of San Francisco-based co-head Kara Baysinger, who left to join Mayer Brown alongside New York-based Matthew Gaul and Los Angeles-based Stephanie Duchene in March 2019. Other key members of the practice include regulatory and compliance specialist Jodi Adolf in Kansas and San Francisco counsel Kate Morgan.