Services

Insurance

Who we are

We are a national “one stop shop” for insurers and insureds seeking advice across the broad spectrum of risk types including general, life, statutory and specialist insurance lines.

Our independently recognised specialist insurance team includes an advisory practice offering front-end insurance expertise. We have undertaken matters successfully at all levels, including Courts of Appeal and the High Court of Australia, in cases that have set precedents on how the law is applied, including high profile civil and coronial cases.

Our clients include some of Australia’s leading insurers including Suncorp, Allianz, QBE, IAG, Zurich, Statewide Mutual, Chubb, Hollard,  Berkshire Hathaway, Berkley Insurance Australia, Jones Lang Lasalle, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, HDI Global SE, Local Government WorkCare, AXA Corporate Solutions and Liberty.

What we do

Our expertise includes:

  • Accident and Health
  • Construction and Engineering and Builders Warranty
  • Insurance Advisory
  • Healthcare / Medical Negligence
  • Liability
  • Marine
  • Motor / Personal Lines
  • Professional Indemnity and Corporate Liability
  • Life, Total and Permanent Disability, and Income Protection
  • Property, Business and Industrial Special Risk
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Strata.

Recent projects

  • Acting for Greater Hume Shire Council in a class action brought by property owners and tenants, both residential and rural, affected by a bush fire that started in a tip operated by the Council.
  • Annual review of primary and excess programs exceeding $100m over several risk types for a complex international corporate structure to ensure adequate and seamless cover.
  • Representing the digital service provider in relation to the Red Cross data breach which was at the time Australia’s largest.
  • Advising on board duties and obligations in relation to continuous disclosure obligations and alleged misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to class actions commenced against Leighton Holdings (CIMIC).

Accident & Health

We have assisted insurers with accident and health claims for over 15 years.

In addition to handling local matters, our technical expertise in accident and health extends to foreign jurisdictions. Recent matters include:

  • Advising on whether a group personal accident policy responded to a claim for damages for injuries sustained whilst the insured person was carrying out contract work in Iraq
  • Acting for a corporate travel insurer in response to a recovery claim by an overseas private health insurer
  • Defending personal injury proceedings in Canada against an insured under a corporate travel insurance policy, including defending recovery proceedings by the Canadian CTP insurer
  • Advising local insurers in relation to their liability under a personal accident and sickness policy for injury to an Australian stuntman who was injured whilst performing a stunt being filmed in Bangkok.

Construction & Engineering / Builders Warranty

Our team are experts in construction and engineering claims and represent insurers in respect of claims under contract works and construction liability policies, both defending complex multi-party construction litigation and handling policy indemnity disputes.

We also boast Australia’s largest and most experienced practice in Builders Warranty Insurance with highly experienced lawyers in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia and are known as leading experts in the area.

Recent matters include:

  • Advising on a $70m Contract Works claim for alleged subsidence of maintenance centre for passenger trains that became apparent after completion of job.
  • Advising on a multi-million dollar contract works matter involving the Brisbane Airport Link and Northern Busway Projects and defective air circulation infrastructure in the tunnels.
  • Advising in an action by a telco involving nine parties for damages to underground fibre optic cable and consequential economic loss.

Insurance Advisory

Our Insurance Advisory team provides innovative and accurate policy interpretation and drafting across a broad range of risk scenarios, including re-insurance, excess insurance and complex group programs. This expertise is recognised by industry bodies such as the Insurance Council of Australia and the Law Council of Australia who engage our experts to provide regulatory solutions and thought leadership.

Recent matters include:

  • “Australianising” a series of policy wordings for a US based insurer new to the Australian market including management liability wrap around cover, excess D&O with unique drop down clauses, environmental liability, and a broadform medical malpractice offering
  • Redrafting the policy terms and conditions for builders warranty insurer underwriting approximately $16bn worth of building projects annually following amendments to the Home Building Act 1989
  • Reviewing after-the-event and cross undertaking wordings for use in the Australian market by a UK based insurer
  • Reviewing and drafting a new multi-peril crop insurance product for a US based insurer, including negotiating with a specialist underwriter and drafting Authorised Representative agreements and service level obligations
  • Reviewing reinsurance treaty terms to provide an agreed interpretation of notification and follow the cedant clauses which will have an ongoing effect on future claims management
  • Annual review of a primary and excess insurance program for a complex international corporate structure. The program exceeds $100m over several risk types including bespoke property, liability, D&O, cyber and environmental product lines
  • Advising on obligations under the GDPR and amending disclosure documentation to reflect the new obligations.

Healthcare / Medical Negligence

We have over 20 years’ experience in medical malpractice and healthcare disputes, defending hundreds of claims across four states and the ACT.

We represent medical practitioners, allied health professionals, practice groups, mental health facilities, aged care providers and hospital groups across a wide range of medical malpractice and healthcare disputes, from small unlitigated matters through to complex, multi-party claims.

We have significant experience in catastrophic injuries arising from medical mishap and obstetric cases, including associated nervous shock claims that often accompany these matters.

We regularly advise and support healthcare professionals including medical practitioners, pharmacists, chiropractors, psychologists, Chinese medicine practitioners, nurses and physiotherapists in complaints and disciplinary proceedings.

We have specialist experience in coronial inquests and royal commissions. We are known for our ability to manage these often difficult matters and the sensitivities that can arise from media attention and family involvement.

 

Liability

We are a leading liability practice. Our senior practitioners have over 30 years’ experience each in the liability field and have appeared in the High Court for liability matters. We undertake work for 12 liability insurers across four states and the ACT.

We are regularly retained as lawyers of choice in high profile matters, such as diving cases and footpath cases. Recent matters include the Ravenshoe gas explosion (21 claimants) and the April 2017 Brisbane balcony collapse (20 claimants).

We have advised on liability claims across all private and statutory policy frameworks in all jurisdictions. We have acted in every court, under all state legislation, in catastrophic claims and matters involving:

  • Complex injuries
  • Dust diseases
  • Simple injury
  • Abuse claims.

We act in class actions, multi-party and infant claims and other brand/ media sensitive actions.

We have volume liability litigation capability, undertaking a total of 1,450 liability claims nationally over the past three years. We are currently managing over 700 liability claims nationally with reserves over $28.5m.

Marine

We are a leading Australian marine insurance practice. We represent the majority of marine insurers operating in Australia and are recognised as a pre-eminent practice by multiple sources including Chambers and the Legal 500 Asia-Pacific.

Our team has handled marine claims for nearly 30 years. We service all areas of transport law and marine claims, including policy drafting and due diligence reviews, indemnity disputes, cargo recoveries, hull & machinery claims, carriers’ liability claims and pleasure craft claims.

Recent matters include:

  • Pursuing a subrogated recovery against the owners of the MV “YM Efficiency” on behalf of the marine cargo underwriters in the Australian market of over 60 of the 83 containers lost overboard after a container stow collapse
  • Defending a freight forwarder in a $35m cargo claim seeking to break Hague Visby Rules limitation
  • Defending a port operator in a $6m arbitration following the failure of wheat loader.

Motor / Personal Lines

We have advised on motor/personal lines claims for more than 25 years.

Over the last 3 years, our 29-lawyer team has resolved 3,500 motor claims, including indemnity disputes, recoveries and settlements in all jurisdictions.

We are a market leader in the area of credit hire/loss of use and credit repair disputes nationally, and manage many hundreds of matters annually for a variety of clients.

We also act for insurers in complex and contested home claims including dealing with claims and recoveries including actions against manufacturers of goods, theft in custody, fire, flood and other natural disasters.

Recent matters include:

  • Acting in defence of claim for breach of duty of utmost good faith in respect of claim under a building and contents policy seeking damages of $4m for damage to heritage listed property and allegations of personal injury
  • Acting in test case proceedings involving a claim for diminished value following the repair of a motor vehicle.

Professional Indemnity & Corporate Liability

We have advised on professional indemnity and corporate liability (financial lines) claims as both coverage and defence counsel for over 30 years, acting in prominent matters for Australia’s largest insurers.

Our dedicated team has 24 lawyers undertaking work for seven insurers across five jurisdictions.

Over the past three years we have undertaken over 319 professional negligence claims, spanning more than 15 different professional sectors. We are currently managing over 95 PI claims nationally with reserves in excess of $47.5m.

Recent matters include:

  • Advising on CBA’s liability in relation to anti-money laundering breaches in relation to the AUSTRAC prosecution of CBA
  • Advising an insurer on coverage under professional indemnity and management liability policies for a $70m claim against insolvency practitioners involving dishonest director conduct, non-disclosure and late notification
  • Acting in the $22m Brisbane River Boardwalk claim including breach of professional duties.

Life, Total and Permanent Disability & Income Protection

Our Life and Disability Insurance practice has over 20 years’ experience providing advice and resolving disputes with a commercial and strategic approach.  We help insurers and superannuation trustees to resolve disputed claims and provide advice on their products, procedures and risk, across standalone and group products in life, total and permanent disability (TPD), income protection (IP), and trauma.  Our work has assisted clients such as Suncorp (Asteron), CommInsure, QSuper, Sunsuper, EnergySuper, Intrust Super, Zurich, Westpac and BT.

Recent matters include:

  • Defence of $1.6m TPD litigation in Supreme Court and Court of Appeal regarding issues of ETEs, transferable skills, obligation to reconsider (Gilberg criteria), obligation to make further inquiries, and restricted remedies against trustees
  • Non-disclosure – defence of $1m+ TPD litigation with issues of non­disclosure/misrepresentation of rare but significant condition and proper application of underwriting guidelines; claim discontinued by plaintiff before trial
  • “Disease” and “pre-existing” – defence of $1m+ TPD litigation involving rare spinal condition and policy provisions for pre-existing disease.

Property, Business & Industrial Special Risk

Our insurance team has assisted insurers with their property, retail business and business interruption claims for over 30 years. We have extensive experience acting for various insurers in respect of first and third party property claims for both personal and commercial insurance. We have proven expertise in managing large scale property claims and recoveries for insurers.

We have significant experience in dealing with Industrial Special Risk claims and recoveries for property damage and consequential loss claims for organisations of all sizes in diverse industries.

Recent matters include:

  • Acted for insurer of  waste disposal facility in NSW in recovery of damages of $3m from third party tenant who caused catastrophic collapse of  facility through heavy vehicle impact
  • Acted for insurer of multiple tenancies in recovery proceedings brought against a welder and head contractor following fire event in shopping complex causing several million dollars in property, stock and business interruption losses.

Workers’ Compensation

We have handled workers’ compensation claims for 21 years. Our team undertakes workers’ compensation claims for five insurers and several self-insured employers in Western Australia.

We advise clients on workers’ compensation claims from a broad range of industry settings.

Our experience spans all  injury types, including musculoskeletal, amputation, paraplegia, psychiatric, industrial disease and with severity spanning from minor to catastrophic with estimates up to $4m.

Recent matters include:

  • Acted for a mining company and its workers’ compensation insurer in the resolution of sexual assault injury claims by fly-in, fly-out workers
  • Acted for an airline and its workers’ compensation insurer in the resolution of a claim for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia by an airport worker attributed to long term exposure to jet fuel
  • Acted for three of eight defendants and their workers’ compensation insurers in a damages claim by a boilermaker allegedly exposed to asbestos dust fibres resulting in the contraction of mesothelioma.

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