Navigating the insurance landscape so you can make the best commercial decisions
Our understanding of the industry and the issues governing insurers, policy holders and intermediaries is second to none - from implementation of reforms to organisational practices, policies and products to contentious regulatory investigations, as well as captive insurance arrangements.
As Australia’s leading financial services regulatory firm, we are backed by the strength and depth of King & Wood Mallesons' broader experience in mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, tax (including tax litigation), privacy and fintech. We are well placed to assist your clients with even the most technically demanding claims.
Tried and tested methods
Organisations need to remain resilient as new regulatory trends make an impact in the financial services marketplace.
Our knowledge of the industry and issues has developed over three decades of advising on the laws and regulations governing insurers, policy holders and other intermediaries operating in the Asia Pacific.
Corporate insurance advice
We are particularly well known in the market for corporate insurance issues, such as insurance and risk in commercial transactions, policy creation and advice. We have a unique depth of knowledge on issues faced by clients in relation to de-merger issues gained from our extensive work advising on de-merger transactions alongside our corporate colleagues.
Assistance on new insurance products
Our front-end practice also advises on governance, regulatory issues and changes, all aspects of the insurance product lifecycle, compliance, tax, codes of practice, claims procedures and protocols, alternative risk transfer/risk management facilities and structures, captives, outsourcing and major acquisitions.
We also have a wealth of experience advising insurance companies on their financing arrangements (both as borrower and as lender), capital adequacy and capital base regulatory requirements, structuring innovative asset holding vehicles and secondary transactions including spin-outs and the sale and purchase of portfolios of shares, loans, funds and other interests.
Regulatory insurance challenges
KWM is alive to the regulatory insurance and insurance advisory challenges shaping the future of the insurance sector, especially with unforeseen events like the current global pandemic. Our clients rely on us to look over the horizon and prepare accordingly.
Governments and various large, multinational corporations
Having considerable experience in advising both government bodies and the private sector on largescale public private partnerships, we are frequently engaged to advise on, review and negotiate, the insurance aspects of the documentation required for various government projects.
Insurance needs for such projects are complex and a clear understanding of the allocation of risks between the parties, as well as of the parties’ rights of recourse to relevant insurance policies, is required.
Unmatched experience in D&O insurance
In the last 12 months, the directors and officers (D&O) insurance market has continued to see significant challenges requiring policyholders to make difficult decisions about the amount of insurance cover to purchase, or the terms on which that cover is available. Advice in these areas to organisations and boards has been critical.
We have earned a reputation as one of the market’s premier insurance teams for our highly specialised combined front-end and back-end team expertise in D&O insurance. We have extensive experience reviewing, advising and negotiating D&O policies and are regularly engaged by boards of various listed and non-listed companies to advise on their D&O insurance and indemnity arrangements, as well as to advise on and litigate claims under those policies.
Regarded as the experts in W&I insurance matters in Australia
Significant growth in the use of warrenty and indemnity (W&I) insurance for medium to large M&A transactions has continued. Our insurance team has been instrumental in advising on and negotiating W&I insurance policies for numerous transactions, many of which are headline deals. We regularly advise on cutting-edge issues regarding transaction and liability structuring in the context of W&I insurance. Our unparalleled market insight and expertise in this area assists our clients to negotiate a key aspect of many deals
Mergers and acquisition of financial institutions
We have advised ASX-listed financial institutions on a number of acquisitions and sales of insurance companies and businesses.
Our in-depth expertise in general insurance, life insurance and superannuation, our regulatory experience and our unique insight into the mergers and acquisitions market, means that we are regularly sought after to advise on the key and often complex insurance issues which typically arise in respect of such material, high-profile transactions.
We act as trusted advisors on all aspects of such transactions, from ensuring that key insurance and regulatory issues are identified through the due diligence undertaken, to subsequently drafting, reviewing and negotiating the insurance terms of the relevant transaction documents and seeking regulatory approvals. We are uniquely placed in having the broad expertise to address all areas of these transactions.
We have a thorough understanding of the nuances of the captive insurance market
Our experience has been built by advising on a range of captive insurance issues including establishment, policy negotiations and claims handling across various jurisdictions.
Captive arrangements require an understanding of not only the policy wording but also reinsurance treaties, financial services regulatory and offshore regulatory issues. KWM is unique in having expertise across all of these areas so that we can provide you with a complete service offering.
Captives are becoming increasingly popular during this difficult insurance market. We are well placed to assist you in coming up with innovative solutions that meet our client’s commercial needs.
Breadth of advice
The areas of law we advise insurance clients on include:
- Tailoring and documentation of products and programmes
- Unit-linked policies
- Insurance cover
- After-sale insurance cover and warranties
- Innovative asset holding strategies and cell-structures
- Financing, including Funds at Lloyd’s financing and direct lending
- Spin-outs and secondary asset transactions.
We are also regularly called upon to advise policyholders on their policy terms and conditions.
We also regularly advise insurance companies on:
- Mergers and acquisitions including regulatory approvals
- Regulatory changes and investigations
- Governance issues including a life insurance company’s duty of priority
- All aspects of a product’s lifecycle including product structures and policies
- Distribution issues
- Disclosure issues
- Claims handing processes.
Our clients seek our advice on the most complex issues relating to:
- All categories of insurance and reinsurance policies
- Policy wording and disclosure documents
- Insurance wording for large contracts
- Warranty and Indemnity Insurance
- New products
- Regulatory aspects
- Compliance / codes of practice
- Claims procedures and protocols
- Alternative risk structures and captives
- M&A / portfolio transfers
- Distribution and outsourcing agreements
- Insurance program reviews
- Cyber insurance related advice
- Captive insurance issues.
Our expertise in action
- Big four banks: advising on a range of significant matters including the D&O and PI insurance responses to various claims relating to the well-publicised AUSTRAC proceedings, the establishment and management of captives, and annual insurance renewals.
- D&O, PI & Cyber insurance: advising large Australian and multinational corporations in reviewing indemnity arrangements and D&O liability, professional indemnity (PI) and cyber insurance policies on issues regarding indemnity arrangements and policy responsiveness for high-profile and complex matters, including amendments to the relevant indemnity documents or alternative policy wordings, extending to preparing insurance notifications and claims submissions.
- Life insurer: advising a life insurer on the design and issue a new life insurance product.
- Private health insurer: advising a large European private health insurer and large local private health insurer on the local insurance licensing regime as applicable to emigrants and tourists from the EU.
- Advised two ASX-listed entities on the establishment of captive insurers. This included regulatory advice, negotiating framework agreements and policy terms and conditions.
- Advising international clients on the tax structuring for captive insurance arrangements.
- Advised the captive insurer of one of Australia’s four largest banks in a A$500 million+ claim relating to losses incurred as a result of a review and redress scheme for customers purchased Interest Rate Hedging Products before the Global Financial Crisis.
- Handling and advising on insurance claims and notifications for captive insurers.
- Project development insurance: negotiating insurance, indemnity and risk transfer risk provisions in the project and financing transaction documents for a large hospital redevelopment and the relevant policy contracts. Advising on the insurance provisions in public private partnership projects.
- Warranty & indemnity policies: negotiating W&I insurance policies in large and medium transactions for various clients, often in headline transactions.
- M&A: we regularly advise on M&A transaction involving financial institutions. Recent examples include, Steadfast acquisition of Coverforce, Bank of Queensland's acquisition of ME Bank, Westpac sale of its general and life insurance business and Suncorp's sale of its wealth management business to LGIAsuper.
- Chambers and Partners – Band 1 Insurance: Policy holder
- Legal 500 – Band 1 Insurance