Our insurance team has the skills and expertise to manage and resolve your claims portfolio, protecting your interests and the interests of your insureds.
- skills and expertise in indemnity assessment including defence of claims against insured parties, whether by settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration and litigation.
- expert and timely services to local and overseas insurers in the areas of professional indemnity, directors and officers liability, statutory and public liability, general and life insurance.
Our insurance team works closely with our other specialist teams to provide a depth of expertise relevant to the particular instruction at hand. For example, we have the largest construction team in New Zealand, assisting many insurers and their insureds with leaky building liability cases and litigation that involves construction, engineering, and mechanical issues. We also have New Zealand’s pre-eminent statutory liability defence team, regularly avoiding or successfully defending enforcement actions by regulators in the financial, health and safety and resource management areas. In professional negligence actions, we regularly act for, and against, claimants and defendants, including actions involving lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and other professionals.
Claim management philosophy
We understand the importance of providing robust, timely, and pragmatic advice and also providing options, so you can make informed decisions.
When managing insurance claims our philosophy is three-fold:
- Giving both the insurer and the insured superior service and ensuring each benefit from our expertise.
- Ensuring good ongoing communication between us, the insurer and the insured at all times so everyone is kept in the loop on material developments.
- Remembering that while the insured will have views on the merits of the claim and settlement, the insurer is paying the bills and must give final approval. It’s best to have the insured agree the strategy, but more important that the insurer and lawyer do so together.
Achieving positive outcomes
We understand that our role is to get the best possible outcome for both the insurer and insured when managing claims. Sometimes this will mean reaching an agreement, other times it will mean going to court. We understand the importance of alternative dispute resolution and the cost savings it can achieve.
We have a proven track record in commercial litigation. Our team regularly appears in courts and tribunals and has achieved many successful results for our clients.
Our points of difference
- We are leaders in our fields: Our people are subject matter experts.
- We have fit for purpose teams: We pride ourselves on resourcing work with the right level of lawyer for the complexity of the work. Our fit for purpose teams can be put together quickly and efficiently and save you money.
- Plain English and succinct advice: Our teams use plain English and provide succinct advice. You will understand our advice the first time you read it.
- Easy to work with: We want you to enjoy doing business with us. We pride ourselves on being a firm that is personable and accessible. We invest time into getting to know your businesses, your objectives and strategic direction. We believe the more we know about you the more we can help you achieve your goals.
We advised AIG in relation to a Warranty and Indemnity insurance claim by Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Limited relating to the purchase by Asahi of Independent Liquor for $1.5 billion. Asahi commenced legal proceedings against the Sellers and the Insurers in the Federal Court of Australia and sought to recover alleged losses for breach of warranties in excess of $500 million.
We represented an Insured building surveyor of the Lofts Apartments. High Court proceedings were filed against the developer, contractor and Wellington City Council for alleged substantial weathertightness defects. The plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $11 million for remedial and reinstatement works to the property. The Insured building surveyor was joined as a third party to the proceedings. A global settlement was agreed between the parties prior to trial.
We represented an Insured architect of the Kings Square development. High Court proceedings were filed by the adjacent land owner against the developer, contractor, Auckland Council, engineers and architect for alleged damage caused to the plaintiff’s property during the construction of Kings Square. The plaintiff sought damages in excess of $500,000 for remedial works to its property. The dispute was settled between the parties at mediation.
We act for AIA New Zealand Limited and were successful in striking out an application for payment of a significant life insurance policy claim on limitation grounds. The particular grounds relied on had not previously been specifically considered by New Zealand courts (Arnold v American International Assurance Company Ltd, HC Auckland, 4 June 2009).
We advised an international bank on, and pursued proceedings to recover losses arising from, negligent conduct by valuers and lawyers arising from property transactions in which the bank received inadequate security for loan advances based on inflated valuations. We obtained a successful settlement for our client at mediation.
We represented an insurer in defending a major product liability claim for $38 million. This claim was settle for less than 10 percent of the claim, ensuring a significant saving in provisioning.
We defended a large equipment supplier in litigation seeking multi-million dollar damages after a customer blamed our client’s equipment for an explosion and subsequent fire. This claim was settled for a nominal sum and proceedings discontinued.
We represented a client and its insurer against a security company. The security company failed to properly inspect premises and did not notice a slow burning fire. This case settled on favourable terms.
We advised and represented an insurer on a number of statutory liability insurance claims relating to RMA prosecutions, including effluent and contaminant discharges.
We defended a large international construction company and its insurer on a negligence claim relating to the repair and maintenance of water pipes. A council water main failed, causing substantial flooding damage to a retail business. We obtained a successful settlement for our client at mediation.
Related legal services
Financial adviser law
Managed funds law
Superannuation and KiwiSaver