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Sophisticated advice on the full spectrum of insurance law

Our highly respected national insurance team provides insurers and users of insurance services with the full spectrum of services covering regulation and compliance, law reform, policy wording and coverage, indemnity, claims, reinsurance, disputes and the development of new insurance products.
We advise clients on the development and design of new insurance products, policy drafting, and captive insurance options.  We advise on issues of policy coverage and legislation affecting insurers and policy holders, and carry out insurance audits and risk analysis (with an emphasis on legal liability). We also advise on related securities law issues.
We act for insurers in the handling of insurance claims in areas including personal and business insurance, professional indemnity, statutory liability, Directors’ and Officers’ liability and general liability insurances.  We advise on relationships and contractual arrangements between insurers, brokers and insurance intermediaries.
We represent insurers and insureds at all levels of the court system and in alternative dispute resolution procedures, including mediation and arbitration.
The impact of the Canterbury earthquakes remains the most significant story in the New Zealand insurance market. Chapman Tripp is the primary legal adviser to New Zealand's Earthquake Commission, EQC.
Ranked Tier One for insurance work by independent legal directories Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016 and Chambers Asia Pacific 2016.  Highly recommended by AsiaLaw Profiles 2016

Canterbury earthquake related matters

  • advising EQC on the full range of insurance issues generated as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, enabling EQC to respond to the second largest body of claims in world history, currently estimated to be NZ$12b in total), including:
    • successfully representing EQC in the High Court in a precedent setting case on the question of whether Christchurch City Council’s decision to prevent homeowners from occupying their properties because of rockfall risk constituted physical loss of the property.  This issue affects several hundred properties and provides a precedent for the multiple insurance firms who insure these properties
    • representing EQC in relation to a novel case determining EQC’s response to residential land damage. 
      The case involves multiple insurance companies with up to NZ$1b at stake
  • advising Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) on a significant claim arising out of the Christchurch earthquakes. The claim concerned 22 buildings that suffered damage in the quakes, with the total amount in question in excess of NZ$320m
  • acting for the New Zealand Government in relation to the sale by AMI Insurance and its wholly-owned subsidiary, CLIC Car Insurance, of its non-Canterbury earthquake related assets and liabilities to IAG (NZ) Holdings, for NZ$380m
  • advising Southern Response on its key obligations and challenges throughout its transition from a team within the AMI insurance business to a standalone company under government ownership
  • acting for Housing New Zealand Corporation on the review, negotiation and successful settlement of its NZ$320m claim with Vero New Zealand, a leading New Zealand insurer, for major damage to its Christchurch and Canterbury properties during the Christchurch earthquakes
  • acting on a range of complex, and often lengthy, insurance matters arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes (since they began in 2010).  This includes acting for major insurers such as AIG, QBE, Lumley and Vero on a broad range of professional indemnity, statutory liability and public liability claims
  • advising Public Trust, New Zealand's largest trustee organisation, and an independent Crown (Government) Entity, in relation to material damage and business interruption claims arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes

Other matters

  • successfully acted for Sovereign Assurance Company Limited in opposing a claim under a group scheme by an insured claiming that he suffered from chronic pain syndrome to the extent that he was totally and permanently unable to work in any occupation for which he was reasonably suited by reason of education, training or experience
  • acting for AIG on a claim by Chow Group Limited under a contracts works insurance policy relating to the Palace Hotel, an historic Auckland building that began to collapse during renovations in October 2010 and was demolished overnight by order of Auckland Council. The case was settled shortly prior to trial
  • acting for major insurers QBE, Lumley and Vero on a broad range of professional indemnity, statutory liability and public liability claims
  • representing AIG in the Court of Appeal in a proceeding on issues that arose from the 2011 Bridgecorp/Steigrad judgment. We were successful in having the original judgment overturned by the Court of Appeal
  • advising leading New Zealand corporates including Chorus, Powerco, Vector and Todd Family Office on reviews of their insurance schemes, including director and officers (D&O) and public liability policies
  • reviewing multiple corporates' D&O and public liability policies in light of the Steigrad decision. The firm undertook a review of leading power company Mighty River Power’s D&O insurance arrangements in the lead up to its IPO and is also advising AON, NZ's largest broking firm, on solutions to Steigrad issues
  • acting for four reinsurers of Western Pacific Insurance Limited (in liquidation) (WPI) in respect of assertions by WPI’s liquidators and certain policy holders regarding the application of a statutory charge to reinsurance monies
  • advising the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) on a proposed scheme of arrangement between EIO’s New Zealand subsidiary and its creditors, including policy holders, as EIO looks to exit the New Zealand market
  • advising AMP, one of Australasia’s leading financial services businesses, on its acquisition of AXA Asia Pacific Holdings
  • advising P&I Clubs and vessel lines on cargo claims, collisions and groundings

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