Worldwide, there has been a huge escalation in insurance claims and a corresponding increase in significant insurance litigation.
Contributing to this have been epidemics, climate change (with a consequent increase in storms, droughts, floods and other ‘weather events’), earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Financial issues and uncertainty continue to plague economies, bringing insecurity and ambiguity to countries. Cyber-attacks have also increased the vulnerability of nations, institutions and business entities.
Internationally, DLA Piper has responded with a market leading insurance practice that is one of the world’s largest. The firm is renowned for building long term client relationships with insurers, and it continues to win awards for its insights and capability.
DLA Piper has an insider’s understanding of the insurance industry and in managing risk in organisations. Arguably, we have an unparalleled knowledge of legal issues in this industry.
ACE Insurance and Lloyd's Syndicate
DLA Piper New Zealand acted for the insurers who declined cover for arson (alleging the owner of a hotel deliberately set fire to the hotel for the purposes of making a fraudulent claim under the insurance policy). After a four week trial involving over 40 expert and lay witnesses, the High Court concluded it was more likely than not that the hotel owner had committed arson and found in favour of the insurers.
DLA Piper New Zealand act for the Lloyds underwriters in relation to material damage claims for five commercial buildings insured under a single policy, damaged during the Canterbury Earthquakes. DLA Piper New Zealand successfully defended the underwriters in an action by the policyholder seeking the value of unspent repairs arising from the damage caused by the September earthquake, in addition to the full sum insured following the total loss of the building from the February earthquake.
Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand acted for Southern Response in High Court litigation over an earthquake damage claim for a house in the residential red zone. Issues arose in terms of the policy impact of the red zone; whether a house in the red zone could be repaired under the policy; the ability of a customer to obtain windfall profits; timing of payment; necessity to meet new flood zone requirements; application of the Government Guidance for Repairing and Rebuilding Houses; and ability to obtain general damages for an inflated claim. The plaintiffs sued for more than NZ$1.3 million but obtained judgment for just over half that sum.
We have prepared a Guide To Doing Business In New Zealand to help those venturing into the market navigate their way through local legislation to identify and maximise the many opportunities that are available.