Disasters are an unfortunate part of life. When they happen, they can leave buildings and expensive machinery destroyed, lives lost, communities devastated and businesses in ruin. And before the debris is swept away, the recriminations begin. Who is to blame? Who should pay?
It’s an unenviable position for insurers. It can be personally challenging for those assessing claims, apportioning responsibility, and where necessary, seeking subrogation and recovery.
Our property team has assisted some of the largest and most complicated headline claims in this area. These include claims arising out of some of the most devastating natural disasters witnessed in Australasia and the Pacific Islands – the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, Queensland floods, Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, and dreadful industrial incidents like the Beaconsfield Mine collapse in Tasmania and the explosion and fire at the Pike River Coal Mine in New Zealand.
Our team, led by Adam Chylek, Antony Holden and Katie Shanks have between them advised on all aspects of ISR policies and claims, extending from fire and flood damage to power generation issues and national catastrophes.
We have assisted clients with many significant matters including:
The Christchurch earthquakes
This was the largest catastrophe response project in the firm’s history. A team of lawyers assisted offshore insurers with their exposure. This included damage to education facilities, public healthcare assets/aged care facilities, commercial buildings, shopping malls and hotels.
The Queensland floods
We managed a broad array of commercial property and ISR claims that involved complex material damage and business interruption issues, recoveries, and policy wording advice.
The 2009 Victorian bushfires
We handled three class actions arsing out of the 2009 Victorian bushfires, all of which were resolved prior to trial. We also settled a subsequent 300+ individual damages claims for material damage and business interruption.
The failure of a gas turbine
We advised ISR insurers on a potential recovery action for a multi-million dollar claim following the failure of a gas turbine in a SA power station.
Whether a natural disaster, a power failure or an industrial accident, we understand that the business of insurance is not just a cold calculation on the page. Especially in highly complex disasters, you need lawyers who know insurance law inside and out, but also who recognise that an individual is behind every claim – lawyers who have the experience of managing and negotiating tense, emotionally charged situations in ways that demonstrate corporate values and social commitment.