Herbert Smith Freehills

Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance Department

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What the team is known for Expertly represents major clients from all corners of the insurance market, including policyholders, insurers, reinsurers and brokers. Regularly instructed on high-profile and complex mandates, including those involving professional indemnity, product liability and financial lines claims. Frequently assists with coverage disputes that arise out of highly sensitive situations, including fraud, cybercrime and environmental disasters. Notable expertise in claims arising in the energy and oil and gas sectors. Also provides a wide range of advice to clients on policy drafting and review.

Strengths According to a client, "the team is excellent, responsive and provides pragmatic, commercial advice."

One interviewee says: "The firm has a wealth of resources it can bring to bear on thorny problems and issues, along with deep subject matter expertise."

Work highlights Advised National Australia Bank on claims arising from a review of interest rate hedging products undertaken by two of the bank's former UK subsidiaries, which subsequently led to substantial redress payments to certain customers.

Notable practitioners

Alexander Oddy
has vast experience in handling coverage disputes on behalf of policyholders clients, including leading energy companies and financial institutions.
"An absolutely first-class lawyer who provides outstanding client care." "He is an extremely good lawyer who knows what he is doing and shows good judgement."

Anthony Dempster
acts for insurers and reinsurers in a range of contentious proceedings, including property damage and business interruption claims related to environmental damage and product liability.
"He is commercial and also very strong technically. He's a strong team player and highly authoritative on the insurance market."

David Reston
advises insurers on a range of complex claims and coverage disputes. He offers particular strengths in employers' liability and professional indemnity matters.

Paul Lewis
heads the firm's contentious insurance and reinsurance practice both in London and globally. He is highly adept at handling complex disputes on behalf of policyholders, particularly those arising in the financial sector and in relation to large mining projects.
"He is phenomenally clever." "He's always there to help, is very commercial and provides fantastic client care." "Paul is eminently practical and provides world-class counsel."

Sarah McNally
has considerable experience acting for policyholders on insurance claims and coverage disputes. Her expertise includes large property damage and construction claims as well as financial lines insurance.
"She's absolutely brilliant and fantastic on insurance issues in particular."