Insurance Law

Since the Christchurch earthquakes, insurance law and claims handling principles have developed at an unprecedented pace. The volume of difficult claims, coverage, and recovery issues has led to major court rulings with ramifications well beyond property or business interruption policies. Meanwhile, nimble new specialty lines providers are prospering as premium levels recover.

Gary has practised insurance law throughout his career, at leading New Zealand firms (Phillips Fox, Chapman Tripp) and the best in the London market (Clyde & Co/Barlow Lyde & Gilbert). He also was for a short time in the in-house counsel team at Aon UK (brokers).

His services encompass the full range of insurance and reinsurance work: claims handling and dispute resolution, advising and litigating policy coverage and indemnity issues, defending insured parties facing liability claims, pursuing subrogated recovery action against wrongdoers.

insurance lawyer

His specialist focus on regulatory investigations means Gary frequently works under Statutory liability, D&O, Management liability, financial lines or product liability covers. He also has experience with professional negligence (e.g. lawyers, accountants, brokers and financial advisers), cyber/data cover, construction works and earthquake loss cases.

Gary also understands and advises on the regulatory environment for insurance companies in New Zealand – prudential insurance supervision and licensing by the Reserve Bank, financial adviser, life insurance/funds management, and issues with the FMA, Commerce Commission, or AML regulations.


  • Defending companies, trustees or directors/officers facing investigations, prosecution, or disciplinary disputes with a wide range of government regulators (statutory liability or D&O insurance).
  • Acting for Tokio Marine Nichido in New Zealand claims arising from the Christchurch earthquakes, including reinsurance issues.
  • Representing large property policy-holder Les Mills fitness centres in complex earthquake claims for material damage and business interruption cover.
  • Acting for private insurers dealing with ongoing contribution and recovery matters with the EQC as primary layer insurer.
  • Advising overseas insurers on NZ industry prudential supervisory reform.
  • Assisting IAG’s internal audit team on Financial Advisers Act and insurance distribution channel issues.
  • Handling several multi-headed Canterbury earthquake insurance claims,  e.g. involving a large private hospital, a major brewery, or a suburban shopping mall.
  • Advising a leading firm of actuaries in dispute regarding quake-residents’ media and misinformation campaign against Southern Response/AMI Insurance.
  • Advising insurers involved in Commerce Commission inquiries into IAG mergers (AMI and Lumley).
  • Handling product liability and product recall cases in the building sector, including timber, leaky building, architect or project manager’s negligence in construction works.
  • Acting for Lloyd’s of London syndicates in a material non-disclosure/ misrepresentation case involving a $2m thoroughbred racehorse.
  • Preparing compliance, liability risk, regulatory and HSE reports, for insured party Boards and brokers.

In London, Gary worked with leading reinsurance and Lloyd’s market experts – key cases included:

  • professional indemnity claims against law firms and accountant firms – arising from merger/acquisition due diligence, trustee or banking issues, client money and fraud allegations, including Solicitors Regulatory Authority disciplinary matters
  • representing Winterthur Life in major company-shareholder litigation
  • assisting in a major liability/costs allocation dispute between insurers and reinsurers, resulting in a US$125m jury award to his client group in a New York court.

Gary is a member of the NZ Insurance Law Association, active in its Liability Insurance Discussion Group, and as a junior lawyer received the NZI Insurance award for top student in the Insurance Institute of New Zealand’s Associateship course.

For Gary’s latest posts on insurance law click here.