Quality and consistency through collaboration

Global Insurance Law Connect this week launches its new report, “Approaches to coronavirus”. The report brings together the latest views on COVID-19 from Global Insurance Law Connect member firms in sixteen countries around the globe. Member firm Sparke Helmore provided the commentary for Australia.

The report examines some of the common themes of coverage as well as legal and regulatory issues observed by the member firms. It also looks at the potential claims emerging and how the depth and breadth of those claims could impact a local insurance industry.

Jim Sherwood, Chairman of Global Insurance Law Connect commented: “Even as 2020 began, few of us imagined that the world was about to face one of the largest pandemics in history, changing the way we live and the economies our businesses operate in. While countries around the globe endure different stages of handling the pandemic, it is undeniable that the impact will be felt long term.

“As events unfold, COVID-19 has also changed the priorities for insurers in the short term. We are seeing similar issues raised around the globe, but always reflecting differing local cultural, political and geographical challenges.”

Catherine Power, Sparke Helmore National Practice Group Leader for Commercial Insurance, commented, “In Australia, we are seeing COVID-19 have a significant impact across multiple lines of cover. The obvious impacts have been seen in the travel, life, health, event cancellation and business interruption classes. But we are also seeing impacts across liability, defence costs, financial lines and D&O classes. We think the majority of claims will be long tail claims, both in this pandemic phase but also when the recovery begins.”

Gillian Davidson, Partner Commercial Insurance at Sparke Helmore and GILC Board Representative for Asia Pacific, also reflected on the local market. “The General Insurance Code of Practice came into effect on 20 January 2020 – off the back of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services industry – just ahead of COVID-19 hitting Australia in earnest. The immediate compassionate response of many insurers to help alleviate the financial hardships being experienced in the community showed insurers working hard to achieve the outcomes fundamental to the success of the Code.

“Approaches to coronavirus” is the first in a sequence of coronavirus updates and further detailed reviews on business lines will be published over coming months, together with a series of webinars focusing on views and updates from Global Insurance Law Connect and its regional member firms.

The Report covers Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, England & Wales, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, Spain and Switzerland. Click here to access the full report.

Notes to editors

Global Insurance Law Connect is a formal alliance of insurance law firms spanning four continents. Founder member firms are Batini Traverso Grasso & Associati (Italy), BLM (UK), Byrd & Associates (France) and Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff PC (USA). Other members are Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein (Germany), Blanco & Asociados (Spain), Khaitan Legal Associates (India), Santos Bevilaqua Advogados (Brazil), Advokatfirmaet Riisa & Co (Norway) and Lydian (Belgium), Buren Legal (China), gbf Attorneys-at-Law (Switzerland), Lee and Li (Taiwan), Molitor (Luxembourg), Ocampo 1890 (Mexico), Sparke Helmore (Australia) and Socrates (Finland).

About Sparke Helmore

We’ve come a long way since our doors first opened in the Hunter in 1882. We’ve had an office in Sydney since the ‘60s and we recently opened our ninth office in Darwin.

We cover six key areas of law – Corporate & Commercial, Commercial Insurance, Government, Property Environment & Finance, Statutory Lines of Insurance and Workplace – with more than 30 specialised areas of expertise. We’re a truly national, full service and proudly Australian firm that delivers results through deep collaboration with our clients. Wherever our clients need us, that’s where we’ll be.

Covering a big country needs a big team—we’re more than 850 people now and still growing. And in true Australian spirit, we’re friendly, approachable and easy to work with. And when you work with one of us, you get the expertise of all of us.

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