The insurance market is heading into an uncertain future as economies and governments around the world respond to the effects of climate change and to increased pandemic risk.
In circumstances of commercial uncertainty and regulatory change, clients require expert advice founded in a deep knowledge of the sector. We provide that capacity and expertise. We regularly advise on regulatory and commercial matters. We also advise the boards of substantial New Zealand entities on their insurance requirements. And when it comes to a dispute, we handle insurance claims for both the insurer and the insured at all levels of the court system.
Due to the upcoming legislative changes in the insurance market, insurers and insurance brokers will need to be qualified to provide financial advice and will need to ensure they have robust reporting processes in place. At the same time, insurers are reviewing existing underwriting process for high-risk areas replacing conventional products with risk-based pricing models.
We regularly advise on regulatory and commercial matters. We’re currently working with several insurers and brokers to make sure they comply with the new legislation. We also advise the boards of substantial New Zealand entities on their insurance requirements. And when it comes to a dispute, we handle insurance claims for both the insurer and the insured at all levels of the court system.
Our specialist insurance legal advisers help across the full range of insurance matters, including assisting you with:
- strategic regulatory and licensing advice
- adviser network compliance
- resolution of contested insurance claims
- compliance to the range of new and existing laws – including developing compliance programs; revising distribution agreements for the new financial adviser laws; providing strategic compliance advice; advising on governance and processes; and preparing policies, procedures and controls
- insurance business sales and purchases
- alternative dispute resolution including mediation and arbitration
- licence applications and advice on licensing requirements for overseas insurers and reinsurers
- developing and designing new insurance products or adapting policies for law reform changes or customer suitability and clarity
- captive insurance options and their requirements
- insurance audits and risk analysis, with an emphasis on legal liability.
- Advised major insurers with responses to the FMA/RBNZ “conduct and culture” reviews and their responses. This included advising on governance structures, the Australian Royal Commission implications for New Zealand insurers and incentive/commission structures, revising policy documentation, developing action, remediation and compliance plans. It also included developing policies, procedures and controls in response to the feedback received.
- Advised insurers, brokers and dealer groups on the implications of the FSLAA reforms.
- Assisted a number of domestic and international insurers on New Zealand's insurance regulatory regime. This included developing compliance programmes for, and giving advice on, the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act and the acquisition and divestment of New Zealand insurance portfolios under the portfolio transfer mechanism in the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act.
- Advised AMP on a range of projects, including New Zealand aspects of its AU$13b acquisition of AXA Asia Pacific Holdings (two-step transaction involving a Scheme of Arrangement to allow the merger of AMP and AXA APH); sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life Group for AU$3.3b; and the sale to AXA by AMP of AXA APH’s Asian assets.
- Assisted with merger and acquisition transactions involving insurers and insurance brokers. This included Foundation Life's purchase of Tower Life, Maui Capital’s investment in Partners Life, AUB Group's acquisition of a 50% shareholding in BrokerWeb Risk Services and Runacres and Associates from IAG New Zealand Limited.
- Established a contingent scheme of arrangement for ACS (Ansvar Insurance) the first scheme of its type in New Zealand to deal with circa $800m of insurance claims as part of its managed withdrawal from the New Zealand market following the Canterbury earthquakes.
- Helped AMP develop a new personal lines insurance product to be marketed with AMP’s KiwiSaver scheme.
- Assisted AMP with a life insurance-related dispute where the policy holder, acquitted of being involved in the murder of his spouse in Bangladesh, was pursuing AMP for a significant life insurance payment and contesting the Official Assignees Rights under the insurance policy.
- Advised the Earthquake Commission (EQC) on the full range of insurance and reinsurance issues generated as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, so that it could respond to the second largest body of claims in world history. This work included successfully representing EQC in the courts.
- Advised Kāinga Ora on the review, negotiation and successful settlement of its $320m claim with Vero for major damage to its Christchurch and Canterbury properties.
- Advised Public Trust on material damage and business interruption claims arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes.
- Represented Canterbury District Health Board on a significant claim concerning 22 buildings that suffered damage in the earthquakes, with the total amount in question in excess of $320m.
Recommended for insurance work.Chambers Asia Pacific 2022