Firms To Watch: Insurance litigation: for policyholders

Indemnity Legal was founded in 2020 by ex-Fenchurch Law lawyer James Morris and specialises exclusively in coverage disputes for policyholders, and in particular, in business interruption claims.
Established in 2019 by a group of ex-HFW lawyers, Wordley Partnership is a boutique policyholder practice led by founding partner Paul Wordley.
At Keystone Law, Jane Harte-Lovelace often advises smaller companies or individual policyholders where insurers deny coverage or dispute the quantum, particularly those involving property-related policies, professional indemnity. 
Disputes firm Stewarts Law LLP recently launched a policyholder disputes department with the hire of insurance litigator Aaron Le Marquer from Fenchurch Law.

Insurance litigation: for policyholders in London

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has an extensive track record acting for policyholders in high-value coverage disputes against Lloyd’s market, Bermuda market and international insurers. Business interruption and event cancellations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic are among its active areas of instruction. Joanna Page often works with non-UK companies and (re)insureds on director and officer’s liability claims, professional indemnity, and political risk insurance. Richard Farnhill leads on mandates involving the overlap of insurance and financial services.

Responsables de la pratique:

Joanna Page

Autres avocats clés:

Richard Farnhill; Russell Butland

Les références

‘The members of insurance team know their law back to front, and give accurate as well as practical advice.’

‘Joanna Page is exceptional.’

‘The team that I have worked with has a unique blend of experience in the field, intellectual ability and work ethic. They were extremely quick in responding to requests and queries and contributed in a positive, valuable and helpful manner.’

Principaux clients

Hiscox Insurance Company Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for Hiscox Insurance Company Limited in its reinsurance recoveries relating to Covid-19 losses.  

Fenchurch Law

Distinguished as one of the UK’s top specialist practices, Fenchurch Law has a ‘leading reputation in claims for insureds against insurers, in all classes of insurance.’ Managing partner David Pryce is the rainmaker of the firm and an a well-known authority in high-value disputes, often with an international element. Other key names include Joanna Grant, who leads the construction property risks team, working alongside Amy Lacey and senior associate Rob Goodship, and Jonathan Corman, whoconcentrates on financial institutions and professional indemnity.

Responsables de la pratique:

David Pryce

Autres avocats clés:

Joanna Grant; Jonathan Corman; Amy Lacey; Rob Goodship

Les références

‘Fenchurch’s insurance litigation practice is not only exceptional in terms of subject matter expertise, but also in the ability to provide value added advice and direction to clients keyed to client objectives, as well as insurance market behaviour.’

‘The firm has a leading reputation in claims for insureds against insurers, in all classes of insurance.’

‘Senior partner David Pryce has particular expertise in claimant work against insurers of construction all risks and construction professional indemnity insurance. His team are true specialists. Depth of subject matter knowledge highly impressive. Tactical strategists!’

Principaux clients

Stonegate Pub Company Limited

Angela Hartnett (Queen St) Limited

Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd (GRE5)

World Challenge Expeditions Limited

Exporter Finance Limited & PDH 2021 Realisations Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Representing Stonegate Pub Company in the leading Covid-19 business interruption aggregation litigation.
  • Represented Angela Hartnett (Queen St) Limited and 183 other hospitality policyholders in ad hoc arbitration proceedings against China Taiping Insurance. China Taiping declined coverage of the policyholders’ claims for BI losses arising from Covid-19 closures, which were submitted under a Non-Damage Denial of Access clause.
  • Acting for Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd (GRE5), the freeholder of Nova House in Slough: a privately-owned block of 68 residential apartments, converted from an office block in 2015. Following the Grenfell disaster, it was discovered that the cladding on Nova House was similarly combustible and needs to be replaced.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Demonstrating a ‘great depth of resource’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP represents a significant number of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 clients on a diverse cross-section of cutting-edge mandates concerning the crisis in Ukraine, Covid-19, energy claims, cyber and W&I insurance. Paul Lewisheads the team with a sure and effective touch’ - he works alongside energy and natural resources specialist Alexander Oddy and ‘outstanding‘ infrastructure expert Sarah McNally. Greig Anderson takes the lead on cyber, D&O, professional indemnity and works on cases involving some of the market’s most complex financial institution losses.

Responsables de la pratique:

Paul Lewis

Autres avocats clés:

Alexander Oddy; Sarah McNally; Greig Anderson

Les références

‘Wide range of knowledge, very commercial in approach and easy to deal with.’

‘On a personal level they are very pleasant to deal with and manage insurer negotiations effectively, understand the key commercial points and how to manage those within the legal framework of the policy and insured matter.’

‘Partner-led with great depth of resource. Pragmatic, flexible, efficient. Keep an eye clearly on client objectives and goals. Fine strategists. Utterly dependable and consistent. Excellent technically.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Sky on a significant insurance claim under a construction all risks project policy relating to the design and build of its new office headquarters in West London.

Reed Smith LLP

Clients praise Reed Smith LLP is as ‘an absolutely first-rate choice for policyholders involved in the largest and most complex of coverage claims’, owing to its global coverage and its close partnership with the firms’ US insurance coverage group. Risk management and advisory work arising from major regulatory investigations is a key differentiator, as is its coverage claims work in financial services, energy and transportation. Peter Hardy has ‘decades-long insurance market experience’. He is joined by the ‘very formidable’ Margaret Campbell, who routinely represents international clients in the financial services, shipping, commodities and energy industries in arbitration. Mark Pring and senior associate Laura-May Scott are other significant team members.

Responsables de la pratique:

Peter Hardy

Autres avocats clés:

Margaret Campbell; Mark Pring; Laura-May Scott

Les références

‘Mark Pring is an absolute delight to deal with, and comes with a wealth of knowledge which is never bettered and rarely matched. His experience of working on the insurer side of disputes places him a relatively unique position to advise policyholders on what their opponents’ next move is likely to be.’

‘Margaret Campbell – stand-out partner with excellent reputation. Laura-May Scott – excellent, with huge potential.’

‘Peter Hardy – decades-long insurance market experience. Always sees the bigger picture; great tactically.’

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP is a popular choice for banks, major corporate and private equity firms, maintaining a busy caseload acting for policyholders raising coverage issues and in test claims, particularly arising both in the context of the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. Philip Hill ‘is right up there with the best’  and is active on D&O and liability insurance claims concerning the mis-selling of complex financial products, alleged fraud/breaches of duty in a transactional context, and political risk. He leads the group alongside the practices’ newest partner, Christopher Ingham, an expert in the oil, gas and energy sectors. Dorian DrewKate Scott and director Baljit Rai are recommended for financial services litigation and credit insurance.

Responsables de la pratique:

Philip Hill

Autres avocats clés:

Dorian Drew; Kate Scott; Christopher Ingham; Baljit Rai

Les références

‘The team is able to provide strong support on the insurance regulatory side, in addition to being able to advise on the core commercial terms.’

‘Baljit Rai is an insurance expert and great at explaining the twists and turns of the market. Often subtle in her approach but incredibly effective. Excellent knowledge of her subject area.’

‘Philip Hill: His knowledge and expertise is right up there with the best and he is a pleasure to deal with.

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for a large number of aircraft lessors on claims to recover losses arising from the Ukraine crisis.
  • Acting for eight major sports teams in claims to recover business interruption losses incurred during the Covid pandemic.
  • Assisting numerous banks and financial institutions in the use of credit insurance for capital relief pursuant to the Basel Accords.

Fladgate LLP

A standout team in this already competitive world’ Fladgate LLP‘s specialist team is led by the ‘highly respectedGarbhan Shanks, a senior partner with a strong track record representing policyholders and their captives in insurance disputes across pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy, financial services and utilities. The practice supplements its offering with David Weare ‘s expertise in construction-related insurance disputes. Senior associate Harriet Chopra is building a reputation representing US policyholders in product liability disputes and Bermuda Form arbitrations, in addition to claims in the life sciences sector.

Responsables de la pratique:

Garbhan Shanks

Autres avocats clés:

David Weare; Harriet Chopra

Les références

‘Real market leaders in the policyholder insurance litigation sphere. Tenacious, bright and hard-working. The Fladgate team is a standout team in this already competitive world.’

‘Garbhan Shanks is a highly respected and very senior player in the policyholder insurance litigation world. He has seen it all and gets great results in difficult cases.’

‘Harriet Chopra is a brilliant and tenacious lawyer.’

HFW

HFW has built a strong foundation of clients in shipping, energy and commodities, and fields a team of coverage specialists in marine, energy and property insurance. Continuing to grow its international footprint, the team recently expanded its São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices with the transfer of solicitors from London, to work alongside its London-based Spanish-speaking partners Jonathan Bruce and Christopher Cardona, who both specialise in Latin America. Nigel Wick has wide-ranging experience acting in large market losses, including those arising from COVID-19, and various major onshore and offshore energy losses. Head of insurance, Christopher Foster has almost 30 years’ experience in contentious insurance.

Responsables de la pratique:

Christopher Foster; Jonathan Bruce; Nigel Wick

Autres avocats clés:

Christopher Cardona

Les références

‘HFW has managed to build a team of lawyers who, apart from being technically competent, inspire confidence by their in-house dynamic. The partners clearly respect and collaborate with each other, which is not always the case in law firms. HFW competes internationally and it has recruited intelligently to ensure desirable diversity in its various overseas offices, as well as at the London HQ.’

‘Good international firm – solid practitioners and hungry to please. Great to deal with and policyholder friendly. Results driven.’

‘Jonathan Bruce provided an excellent client service and always provided an honest and open approach to the investigation and the expectation for the outcome of the case.’

K&L Gates LLP

Headed by global practice co-chair Sarah Turpin, K&L Gates LLP‘s group have a wealth of expertise acting for policyholders across various lines. Often collaborating with its international offices, the practice handles cross-border litigation involving D&O liability, property and business interruption, Bermuda Form, led by Ian Meredith and offshore construction, which is Matthew Smith‘s key area of expertise.

Responsables de la pratique:

Sarah Turpin

Autres avocats clés:

Matthew Smith; Ian Meredith

Les références

‘Sarah Turpin was very professional and efficient. She understood the matter and gave practical advice.’

‘K&L Gates provide an efficient service in this specific area of insurance law.’

Principaux clients

Hyve Group plc

Republic of France

Far East Façades (UK) Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Hyve Group plc on insurance claims under Event Cancellation insurance policies following the postponement/cancellation of a number of exhibitions and events as a result of COVID-19 government imposed restrictions.
  • Acting for the Republic of France in two Commercial Court cases and in related matters, arising out of an Arbitral Award in favour of the insurers of the M/T Prestige which sunk off the Galician coast in 2002 causing wide spread oil pollution and extensive damage to the coasts of France and Spain.
  • Acting for Far East Facades UK in High Court proceedings arising from alleged design defects on One The Elephant – a luxury high-rise residential tower in London.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP maintains a strong position at the forefront of the most significant insurance coverage litigation, with the ‘exceptionalSonia Campbell and senior associate Sophie Fairclough acting for various hospitality companies in one of three leading ‘test cases’ on Covid-19 aggregation issues, following on from the landmark FCA Business Interruption ruling. Richard Leedham , a ‘real titan of a figure’, advises predominantly corporate policyholders on coverage issues and institutional funds clients on claims arising from investments in rights issues. Recently promoted partner Ralph Fearnhead is another key figure.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Leedham; Sonia Campbell

Autres avocats clés:

Ralph Fearnhead; Sophie Fairclough

Les références

‘Strong in the policyholder area, and growing. Great partners supported by able associates with appropriate divisions of responsibility between the two.’

‘Sonia Campbell is strong and well-known in the industry. Exceptional – bright, quick-witted and a joy to work with she is client focussed, knowledgeable and has a keen eye for the right strategy.’

‘Richard Leedham is what every litigator needs to be, tough, confident, decisive and highly effective in negotiating complex settlements out of court as quickly as possible.’

Principaux clients

HAG Arbitration

Various Eateries

Covid-19 Business Interruption instructions

Katara

Prosus Limited

Eland

Wilton & Bain

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Various Eateries Trading Limited on COVID-19 aggregation issues in proceedings listed to be heard in July 2022.
  • Advised the HAG and HIGA claimant action groups as interveners in the FCA Test Case, with involvement at both the Divisional Court and Supreme Court stages.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard is described by one client as a ‘silver circle firm with magical expertise’ in political risk, credit insurance and warranty & indemnity insurance. The Bermuda Form remains a particular speciality of practice head, Richard Wise and managing associate Laura Payne. He is also regularly instructed by US policyholders in relation to disputes in London or governed by English law. Natasha Winter made partner in May 2022.

Responsables de la pratique:

Richard Wise

Autres avocats clés:

Natasha Winter; Laura Payne

Les références

‘Natasha Winter – very smart, savvy and details orientated. leaves no stone unturned.’

‘Silver circle firm with magical expertise – the firm deserves to be up there with those they appear on the other side too. We see the scale and volume of their work first-hand. Partners are approachable on all levels.’

‘Richard Wise is a wonderful attorney. He stands out in terms of practicality, intelligence, and the ability to move the case forward in an incredibly thoughtful and efficient manner.’

Principaux clients

FBN Bank (UK) Limited

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

White Oak Europe Acquisition Limited

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for White Oak Europe Acquisition Limited in a £19m claim in the Commercial Court concerning coverage under a buyer-side W&I insurance policy arising from its acquisition of a group of UK companies in 2018.
  • Acting for a Fortune 500 company in arbitrations with excess liability insurers concerning losses in excess $300m arising from the use of one its products.
  • Acting for a FTSE 250 company in relation to aggregation issues relating to its claim for business interruption coverage in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP is particularly well-known for its firmwide expertise in the infrastructure, energy, rail and financial services sectors. Bristol based Matthew Walker is the lead partner in the practice and predominantly advises on construction insurance, warranty & indemnity and PI insurance claims.

Responsables de la pratique:

Matthew Walker

Les références

‘The team are very proactive in drawing on the available expertise in other practice areas within the firm to ensure they deliver the best service.’

‘The team are exceptional – highly motivated, very bright, very commercially-minded and practical.’

‘Burges Salmon act for policyholders in some of the largest insurance disputes involving process engineering and construction.’

Edwin Coe LLP

Focused exclusively on insured-side work, Edwin Coe LLP‘s ‘well-resourced and ably and competently staffed‘ team is led by Roger Franklin, and has developed a specialism in quantum issues and business interruption losses claims. Michael Whitton is active on liability and coverage disputes arising from fires, floods and thefts, and Nicola Maher represents clients in substantial property damage.

Responsables de la pratique:

Roger Franklin

Autres avocats clés:

Michael Whitton; Nicola Maher

Les références

‘Very well-known, high profile firm acting primarily for policyholders. Probably one of the leaders in the field from that perspective.’

‘Nicola Maher – very experienced, tactically astute, highly knowledgeable in this specialist field, Nicola provides a service to her clients that is second to none.’

‘Nicola Maher is very knowledgeable, practical and hard working. We cannot imagine any lawyer handling the difficulties we have had on the case with more patience, skill and intelligence.’

Principaux clients

Corbin & King Ltd

CG Restaurants Ltd

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Corbin and King Ltd, the owner of the Wolseley and a string other well-known restaurants, in connection with its business interruption claim against its insurer for Covid 19 losses.
  • Advising CG Restaurants (Holdings) Ltd on the formation of a group action against QIC (Europe) Ltd and RSA in connection with claims against insurers for multiple Covid 19 losses linked to the various lockdowns.

Michelmores LLP

Jonathan Kitchin heads Michelmores LLP‘s multi-disciplinary dispute resolution group which offers capabilities in professional indemnity coverage dispute, D&O cover and marine insurance. The practice maintains strong activity advising on business interruption claims, predominantly acting for hospitality venues, sports and real estate companies.

Responsables de la pratique:

Jonathan Kitchin

Les références

‘Approachable, offers clear, simple and practical advice and good on fees.’

Wynterhill LLP

Wynterhill LLP‘s specialist insured team is co-led by Stuart Hill and Dan Brooks and provides ‘impeccable service and the highest levels of knowledge in the market when it comes to insurance coverage disputes.’ Key sectors of expertise include construction risks, professional indemnity, and property damage and business interruption claims.

Responsables de la pratique:

Stuart Hill; Dan Brooks

Les références

‘Wynterhill are my first port of call as they have a very honest approach and will clearly state at the outset whether or not clients have a good chance of success in their dispute.’

‘Dan Brooks inspires confidence. I can rely on him and the team to provide a professional and legally sound service in construction insurance.’

‘Wynterhill provides an excellent service with a personal approach. I like their ‘no-nonsense’ approach to sorting the wood from the trees to get to the crux of the matter in hand.’

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for Opia Ltd in a contingency policy coverage dispute arising from the purported avoidance of a policy protecting against the risk of higher than expected take up of a cash-back offer, forming part of a sales promotion for consumer electronic equipment.
  • Acting for a firm of architects in a professional indemnity coverage dispute arising from negligence claims from an Oxbridge university which resulted in disputes with multiple years of account and multiple layers.
  • Advised an insurance broker representing a group of 800 physiotherapist policyholders with business interruption claims, and helped design an arbitration process, following the FCA Test Case and Supreme Court’s decision on Covid-19 claims.