Our experience includes Disputes & Investigations, Corporate/Commercial & Regulatory, and Directors' and Officers':

Disputes & investigations

Our recent roles include:

  • QBE – in a class action relating to a profit downgrade of over A$1 billion largely connected to QBE’s North American operations. The proceeding involves consideration of complicated factual and technical issues relating to the financial operations of a multinational insurer, insurance accounting, actuarial analysis and goodwill impairment testing. It also raises important legal issues for class action litigation in Australia.
  • Allianz – in relation to ASIC's ongoing industry-wide review into the sale of add-on insurance products through motor dealers. The matter draws upon Allens' specialist expertise in insurance, regulatory investigations, disputes and competition law.
  • Chubb Insurance – appointed as defence counsel in D&O and regulatory matters.
  • PTTEP Australasia – in the defence of a class action arising from the 2009 Montara Oil Spill, including in respect of associated insurance claims.
  • NSW Government – on insurance issues arising out of 'Poles & Wires' transactions.
  • LPLC – in relation to a potential professional negligence claim against a major law firm.
  • Insurance Council of Australia – in relation to the abolition of the emergency services levy in New South Wales.
  • Arch Insurance – on policy coverage and defence of professional negligence claim against its insured, GW Engineers, concerning the design of a major solid waste treatment and processing plant.
  • Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) – in relation to its management of the 'Black Saturday' bushfire class actions on behalf of the insured State party defendants.
  • Newcrest – advising under a D&O policy against an insurance tower, arising out of an ASIC investigation and separately, a class action.
  • Unitas Capital – on complex insurance issues arising in Federal Court proceedings brought against Unitas and Pacific Equity Partners by Asahi Holdings (Australia).
  • Contract disputes – on a variety of contract disputes, including those that arise out of property transactions, M&A transactions, supply and service contracts.

Corporate/Commercial & Regulatory

Mergers & acquisitions
Our recent insurance merger and acquisition roles include:

  • adviing Allianz Australia on its purchase of the Northern Territory Government's general insurance business;
  • acting for ACE on the Australian aspects of its global acquisition of Combined Insurance;
  • acting for Enstar on its acquisition of the Gordian Runoff group of companies from AMP;
  • acting for PMI on the sale of its Australian lenders' mortgage business to QBE;
  • acting for MBF on its A$250 million acquisition of the Clearview businesses from IAG;
  • acting for MBF Australia on its demutualisation and its $2.4 billion merger with BUPA; and
  • acting on the disposal of HBF General Insurance to CGU.

Capital markets
Acting for insurers in relation to capital raisings including a number of recent transactions on behalf of one of Australia's leading insurers.

Portfolio transfers
Advising CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, a US-based insurer, on the divestment of its life and general insurance businesses in Australia with the transfer of its portfolio.

Acting for American Home Assurance Company (AHAC) in relation to the domestication of its Australian branch by court-sanctioned transfer of AHAC's general insurance business to Chartis. This was part of a worldwide reorganisation of the American International Group.

Captive insurance arrangements
Advising a major Australian bank on its captive insurance and reinsurance arrangements, including in relation to third party liability, bankers blanket bond and computer crime.

Product development
Advising Chubb on the introduction of new professional indemnity products, including all relevant regulatory matters and compliance requirements. Acting for St.George Bank in relation to the establishment of product development and distribution arrangements with AIG Life.

Policy coverage and drafting
Acting for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in relation to a major review of its policy wordings and policy renewals to obtain expanded and enhanced cover on renewal.

Our recent regulatory roles include:

  • advising Medical Insurance Group of Australia on regulatory issues relating to medical malpractice insurance, including specialist advice in relation to regulatory structures and new product offerings for doctors;
  • advising HBF in relation to managing the requirements of new private health legislation, advice on the change of status of the corporation, corporate advice and advising on products;
  • advising the Insurance Council of Australia on industry issues in relation to the General Insurance Code of Practice, the NSW Motor Accident Compensation Scheme, the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and flood advice; and
  • advising the NSW Self Insurance Corporation in relation to the establishment of a home warranty insurance scheme underwritten by the NSW State Government.

Advising the scheme agents on arrangements associated with the implementation of the Workers Compensation Scheme in NSW on behalf of the nominal insurer and WorkCover.

Law reforms
Advising various clients on the Australian reforms to medical indemnity and tort law.

Directors' and Officers'

Our work in this area includes:

  • acting for six of the most prominent reinsurers in the Australian market in a dispute lasting eight years, culminating in a series of appeals from an arbitration award concerning a D&O liability portfolio. The arbitration raises highly complex legal issues, requiring a good understanding of underwriting practice in both the insurance and reinsurance industries, insurance and reinsurance broking practice and the effect of the NSW Insurance Act;
  • advising a company director (on instructions from the director's D&O insurer) in relation to a substantial ASIC investigation into the affairs of a responsible entity of a failed managed investments scheme. We are representing the director in response to ASIC's oral examination and document production notices and in relation to public examinations by the liquidator of the scheme;
  • acted for an insurer (under a D&O policy) in defending multiple Supreme Court proceedings involving a dispute between an international company, a number of its former directors and officers and their new employer in relation to alleged breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties;
  • advising Chubb on D&O insurance policy exclusions and in relation to claims made by directors of Stanilite for coverage under a policy of D&O insurance; and acting as monitoring counsel in relation to claims made against the directors of Racing Victoria;
  • assisting a multinational resources company to develop its policies in relation to D&O indemnity and insurance. This has involved advising on the operation of limitations on the ability of companies to indemnify and insure directors and officers under the Corporations Act and common law limitations on indemnification and insurance for fines and penalties; and
  • assisting an international underwriter with the development of its D&O policy for the China market.