Insurance

Expertise at every turn

The insurance sector is an essential part of the financial system, providing security and confidence to corporates and individuals across a breadth of industries and activities. The complexity of the sector and its regulatory framework, however, means that issues are regularly drawn into contention. Significant errors or disputes can take a toll on all parties – on their finances, their reputations, and in some cases their ability to continue business.

We regularly assist insurers, corporates, directors, brokers and other industry players to navigate potential pitfalls and create winning outcomes. Our multidisciplinary insurance team combines the strengths of our corporate, finance, litigation, regulatory and competition experts to ensure that our clients can proceed with confidence.

We help corporates and individuals to understand, structure and place insurance cover and manage both contentious and non-contentious interactions with their insurers. We are recognised as leading advocates. We provide technical and strategic advice and support through the claims process and represent clients in arbitrations, mediations and the Courts to achieve their goals. 

We also help insurance firms navigate local regulation and compliance, participate in law reform, and manage structural and governance issues.

Our experts understand the key commercial and regulatory drivers which shape the insurance industry, the often complex and confusing jargon which surrounds insurance, and the detail of insurance products and terms. We clarify issues and find solutions. We can assist you every step of the way.

We are also looking to the future. Financial technologies have and will continue to improve and disrupt the insurance industry’s processes and products. Our Fintech group is well placed to help insurance firms exploit the opportunities and manage the risks which these developing technologies are bringing.

Our experience includes:

  • Providing specialist advice on insurance placements for major projects and transactions, including liability cover for IPOs, warranty and indemnity insurance in the context of mergers and acquisitions, and cover for major construction projects (e.g. the development of Commercial Bay in Downtown Auckland).
  • Acting for insureds on contentious insurance claims under a wide range of policies, including professional indemnity, product liability, and material damage / business interruption. This work has included multimillion dollar claims flowing from the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. 
  • Assisting IAG with its offer of unsecured subordinated convertible notes to the public and NZX, the first of its kind under new legislation which set a precedent for issuers of convertible securities.
  • Advising various insurers on issues relating to the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010, including obtaining RBNZ consent to a change of control of an insurer
  • Acting for various industry participants in commercial disputes. Examples include acting for insurers on breach of confidential information claims, disputes with brokers over commission entitlements, and in relation to historic leaky building claims.
  • Regular involvement in law reform initiatives. We were instrumental in shaping the insurance industry response to the Court's findings in the Bridgecorp case (which resulted in a requirement to obtain separate defence costs cover under liability policies). We are also heavily involved in the current reforms of the financial adviser regime, which has significant consequences for the distribution of insurance products.
  • Advising the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority on red zone insurance issues following the 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes, and a range of insurers on related issues.
  • Acting as New Zealand adviser to Suncorp-Metway Ltd on its merger with Promina Group Ltd to create an insurance group with a combined value of A$6.8 billion. This deal was one of the largest financial sector mergers in Australasian legal history.
  • Advising Guinness Peat Group plc in respect of its subsidiary, GPG Twenty One Limited's, offer for 15.3% of the shares in TOWER Limited, a dual listed (NZX and ASX) insurance company.
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