Read the latest edition of Unravelled, our series of publications which aim to navigate some of the complexity and promote discussion and debate around financial services regulation.
The Australian insurance market is one of the most highly-regulated insurance markets in the world, partly due to the collapse of a number of major Australian-based insurance companies in recent years. The complex regulatory maze means that insurance and reinsurance organisations need legal advisers who can quickly identify critical issues, apply the law and deliver plain-English, commercial advice.
Allens has one of the leading Insurance & Reinsurance practices in Australia and Asia. We are known internationally for our full service expertise in all aspects of insurance and reinsurance law and regulation.
Our track record includes successful High Court appeals, landmark insurance and reinsurance cases and extensive experience in representing London-based syndicates, intermediaries and insureds on claims in Australia and Asia. We have also dealt with some of the largest and most complex insurance restructurings, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and capital raisings in Australia. We advise on a wide range of regulatory issues.
We are ranked as a leading insurance firm by Chambers Global, Chambers Asia Pacific and Legal 500 Asia Pacific. Our Insurance & Reinsurance Group is regarded as 'the best in Australia and highly competitive internationally' and comprises a 'strong team of front and back-end people with immense technical expertise' (Chambers Global).
Whether it is claims handling, corporate, regulatory, insolvency, restructuring or product development, we point our clients in the right direction. We do this for major insurers and reinsurers in Australia and Asia (whether they are situated locally or are operating out of London, Bermuda or the United States), underwriters, professional firms, advisers, key members in the insurance industry, and corporate and professional firm insureds from all areas of business. Some of our clients include:
- General insurers and reinsurers – including ACE, Allianz, Arch Capital, Berkshire Hathaway, Chartis, Chubb, CIGNA, FM Insurance, General Re, various Lloyds' Syndicates, Munich Re, Swiss Re;
- Life insurers – General Re Life, MetLife;
- Registered health benefit organisations – HBF;
- Government and government insurers – NSW Department of Commerce, Workcover NSW;
- Brokers and other intermediaries – Aon, Aegon, Marsh, Willis; and
- Industry associations – Australian Health Insurance Association, HIH Claims Support, Insurance Council of Australia, Insurance Ombudsman Service.
Known for our commonsense, commercial approach, we are both results-driven and focused on our clients' commercial needs. We distinguish ourselves from other firms by having a deep understanding of the regulatory and legislative environment in which the industry operates, and the knowledge gained in dealing with the complex, high-value and reputationally significant work we customarily undertake.
Our people include some of the most experienced lawyers in the industry.
Allens received the highest number of nominations of any law firm in the Australasian region for the World's Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers. Our team includes lawyers who have worked in jurisdictions with significant insurance and reinsurance markets, including the UK and Asia – 'no other firm has [Allens'] skill base and geographical spread' (Chambers Global).
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
- for insurers and insureds on a range of complex indemnity and coverage disputes;
- in professional indemnity, and directors and officers' issues;
- for parties in Royal Commissions and various inquiries;
- as defence lawyers to insureds on a range of claims under various classes of liability covers;
- in numerous reinsurance disputes involving arbitration and mediation;
- in relation to extortion threats and product tampering regarding pharmaceutical industry insureds;
- on life insurance disputes including those involving superannuation funds and members;
- in relation to alleged 'secret commissions';
- in a range of complex engineering disputes on behalf of insurers; and
- on a range of large Australian class actions (including shareholder class actions).
Corporate/Commercial & Regulatory
We have expertise covering:
- all of the main Australian insurance regulators including APRA, ASIC, ACCC and PHIAC and Asian regulators such a MAS in Singapore;
- the establishment of insurance businesses including agents and brokers;
- mergers and acquisitions, portfolio transfers, run off schemes;
- compensation schemes including workers' compensation, motor and home warranty;
- marketing and distribution arrangements especially from offshore into Australia and reinsurance insolvencies;
- privatisation of government schemes;
- capital management;
- financial services reform and privacy issues;
- competition and trade practices law as it relates to the insurance industry; and
- insurance policy coverage and drafting.
We are recognised as one of the leading insurance and reinsurance practices in Asia, and have one of the most extensive legal networks in Asia with lawyers based in nine cities across seven countries throughout South East Asia and North Asia. We act for insurers, reinsurers, brokers and insureds in contentious and corporate matters across a number of business lines, including directors' and officers' liability, product liability, professional indemnity, property damage and business interruption insurance. We also act for both cedants and reinsurers in facultative and treaty insurance disputes as well as for individual companies and the industry generally in regulatory investigations and commissions of inquiries.
Papua New Guinea
We have an office in Papua New Guinea which provides expertise in relation to local insurance regulatory and dispute resolution issues.