Adam Chylek is a Senior Partner at Wotton + Kearney with more than 20 years’ experience, operating exclusively in Insurance. He leads W+K’s national Property and Energy practice. Consistently recognised as a Legal 500 key player in insurance law, he is widely acknowledged in Australia and the region as an expert in market management on major losses with parties located both locally and offshore. In Australia and internationally Adam is noted for handling Property, ISR and Contract Works matters in the Energy, Resources and Power sectors, regularly managing complex market-profile indemnity disputes. He is recognised as a market leader for his work on the Christchurch Earthquakes, Queensland Floods and is currently assisting the international insurance market on some of the largest, multi-billion-dollar gas and infrastructure losses in Australia.
Adam is the ‘go to’ adviser to many of W+K’s Australian, European and North American Insurer and Reinsurer clients operating in the Mining, Energy and Power sectors. He also manages the Catastrophe Response Team which is deployed to roles throughout the region.
Adam has been recognised by clients and colleagues in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020 as “an experienced lawyer” who “practices extensively in insurance and is briefed by a lot of insurers,” and a partner with “a very strong practice in the very specialised area of property damage, which he has made his own.”
Adam successfully ran the pivotal case of Ace Insurance Ltd v Moose Enterprise Pty Ltd  NSWSC 724 which is now the leading Australian authority on choice of law and jurisdiction clauses in insurance policies. He also successfully ran the case of Globe Church Incorporated v Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd  NSWCA 27 in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, striking a win for Insurers on the critical timing trigger for limitation purposes under a first party insurance policy.
The Australian Mining and Resources Sector has been the backbone of the Australian economy for decades. Assets are developed, commissioned and operated in harsh working conditions that are exposed to degradation, high UV, and a wet/dry environment. Mining losses under Works and Operational/ISR Policies have led to some of the most dynamic insurance claims in the Australian market.
Adam advises the insurers of most of the mining insurance programmes across the region on losses including:
- damage/destruction of long wall equipment and roof collapse
- CBI losses associated with unrest/protest action and civil authority intervention
- loss of ventilation shafts/liners
- damage to underground conveyor systems
- downstream damage at processing plants
- spontaneous combustion incidents at long wall mining operations, tunnel collapse, failure of tailings dams
- losses associated with regular east coast cycle activity, including flooded mine pits
- accelerated corrosion damage to pipelines, tanks and infrastructure
Energy, Gas & Power
Australian Power losses are varied because of the nature of the generation facilities required to run primary and secondary process assets in coastal and remote areas of Australia. Plants either operate to provide saleable product to the National Grid or are aligned to mining or secondary processing plants. Like most parts of the world, Australia is seeing significant development in renewable energy programmes, with nascent technology and the emergence of bespoke wordings. Adam’s expertise and advice is sought by:
- insurers seeking advice on many of the emerging losses in the recent LNG development phase – including plants built by international consortia, and much of the related Pipeline / Infrastructure losses which have been notified into the market in the last 5 years.
- insurers writing Renewable asset insurance programs throughout Australia (particularly Queensland) and emerging areas of design loss
- the insurers of the majority of Power Generation losses across Australia, including losses on damage to generators, turbines and transformer equipment at over 50 power sites in Australia and the region.
The Australian infrastructure market has experienced an unprecedented decade-long boom post-GFC. Insurers operating in this space have seen increased activity in the defect v damage paradigm. Also, many non-weather losses are challenged by the difficult dynamic created by the LEG and DE series of exclusions which regularly have a lot of work to do in Australian insurance losses.
Adam advises a wide range of insurers on:
- the majority of roading, rail and infrastructure accounts in Australia. These include NSW Rail Link, RMS East Coast/Pacific Highway program Metro and Link infrastructure projects; and significant civil works across Queensland
- losses at desalination plants across the region
- losses associated with accelerated corrosion at reinforced walls along roading links
- design/structural failure of roading tunnels
- the hotly debated losses involving significant civil and engineering works in metropolitan Brisbane.
Leading a team of 10 lawyers, Adam assisted offshore insurers/reinsurers with their exposure to some of the largest losses in Christchurch arising out of the earthquakes in 2010/ 2011. This exposure included damage to education facilities; public healthcare assets/aged care facilities; commercial buildings (the largest demolition of CBD office tower in Christchurch); shopping malls; and hotels. The team advised on complex and novel material damage and business interruption policy response issues, strategic settlement decisions, and facilitating agreements with co-insurers and reinsurers on multi-building/location losses. Adam’s widely accepted expertise in catastrophe management means he:
- was the primary adviser to a range of insurers out of the Christchurch Earthquakes, many market-led Infrastructure accounts affected by the Brisbane Floods and more recent work on Energy losses arising out of the PNG Earthquakes.
- was appointed by market insurers to give limitation advice on the Queensland Government assets affected by the Brisbane Floods and issues of time bar.
- Commercial Property
- Construction + Contract Works
- Industrial Special Risks
- Professional Liability
- Subrogated Recoveries
- Construction + Infrastructure
- Energy, Mining + Power
- Industrial + Commercial Property
- Australian Insurance Law Association
- Law Society of NSW