The depth and breadth of our insurance practice sets us apart.

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Bell Gully's Insurance team acts for a wide range of insurers, insureds, brokers and reinsurers. 

What sets us apart from other firms is the depth and breadth of our insurance practice, spanning cutting-edge litigation, claims work, products and policy wording advice, regulatory work and transactions involving the insurance sector.

Our team has represented clients in some of the most significant New Zealand insurance litigation cases over the past few years, including the Supreme Court Steigrad case and the Supreme Court fire service levy case.

We act for both insurers and insureds in a wide variety of claims work, including general and fire insurance, liability insurance (including professional indemnity and D&O), life and medical insurance, and reinsurance.

Products and policy wording
We regularly advise insurers and insureds on insurance product issues, policy wording, white label insurance products, and the development of new product disclosure documents.

Our team has significant regulatory expertise, including in relation to the Insurance Prudential Supervision Act and Reserve Bank insurance requirements.

We have extensive experience in complex commercial transactions involving the insurance sector. We advise clients on mergers and acquisitions involving insurers and reinsurers, restructuring their insurance businesses, the transfer of insurance portfolios, as well as advising overseas insurers seeking to establish insurance operations in New Zealand.

Our significant experience in this extensive range of practice areas means that we provide our clients with responsive, commercial, and solutions-focused advice.

Recognition of our insurance expertise
"A class act, the advice is always tailored to clients' needs."

"Superb firm" Bell Gully is "among the best – infused with quality and a trusted adviser."​
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 - Tier 1

"They are very responsive, good at knowing what the client wants and tailoring advice accordingly. The client service is excellent."

"We have been really happy with the advice that they have provided and with the way they understand our business."
Chambers Asia Pacific 2016  

A strong team with an excellent reputation for assisting insurers in high profile contentious matters .
Chambers Asia Pacific 2015 

Southern Response Earthquake Services class action
Successfully represented Southern Response in opposing an application by insureds for High Court approval to proceed as a representative class action. The customers alleged that Southern Response misrepresented its obligations under insurance policies, unreasonably delayed in processing and settling claims, and understated the true costs of rebuilds and repairs.

Steigrad Supreme Court decision
Acted for PwC in the Steigrad case which involved successfully obtaining a ruling from the Supreme Court that a D&O insurance policy was subject to a charge, preventing the directors from accessing defence costs under the policy. The decision had significant effect on the insurance industry in both New Zealand and Australia, with the case described as a "landmark" and "ground-breaking" decision which has "dramatically changed the landscape for D&O (and E&O) indemnity insurance in New Zealand".

Supreme Court fire service levies on insurance
Acted for the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand and Vero Insurance New Zealand in a Supreme Court appeal concerning fire service levies payable on material damage insurance policies. Partner David Friar presented oral argument on behalf of the insurance industry alongside former partner Ralph Simpson.

High Court earthquake claims insurance litigation
Advising Southern Response Earthquake Services on 23 separate High Court cases concerning claims for insurance cover as a result of damage caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.

EQC Increased Flooding Vulnerability Policy Declaratory Judgment
Successfully represented Southern Response Earthquake Services in proceedings concerning earthquake damage to land and buildings resulting in increased flooding vulnerability. The case was heard by a full bench of three High Court judges. The Court accepted partner David Friar's argument on behalf of Southern Response that houses that were susceptible to increased flooding vulnerability as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes were not damaged, and that as a result, increased flooding vulnerability was not covered by EQC (and by extension, also not covered by private insurers).

Surveyor-General boundary guidance
Advised Southern Response Earthquake Services, IAG and Lumley in relation to Proposed Guidance issued by the New Zealand Surveyor-General in February 2015 concerning the location of boundaries in areas affected by shallow surface movement caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.

Sale of AMI insurance to IAG
Advised on the sale of AMI's on-going insurance business to IAG for NZ$380 million.

AMI insurance Crown support package
Advised AMI Insurance on the NZ$500 million Crown support package provided to AMI following the Christchurch earthquakes.

New Zealand Local Government Insurance Corporation
Acted for R+V Versicherung AG, a German reinsurance company, in relation to a dispute with New Zealand Local Government Insurance Corporation (trading as Civic Assurance) arising out of claims under a reinsurance contract following the Canterbury earthquakes.

Licensing requirements
Advised a number of insurers on licensing requirements under the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010, including liaising with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and addressing structural and other issues.

Unfair contract terms
Advised the Insurance Council of New Zealand in relation to legislation concerning unfair contract terms.

Kiwi Property – Northlands insurance claim
Advised Kiwi Property on its insurance claim for damage to the Northlands Shopping Centre resulting from the Canterbury earthquakes.



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  • Garry Downs

    Partner Auckland
  • Simon Ladd

    Partner Auckland
  • Glenn Joblin

    Partner Auckland
  • David Friar

    Partner Auckland