Aisha leads the Melbourne branch of Wotton + Kearney’s Property, Energy + Infrastructure team.

He has practised exclusively as an insurance litigator for 15 years and has developed a specialisation in property damage claims, both on the first party property (coverage) and casualty (subrogated recoveries / liability defence) side. His practice covers a variety of claims across the construction, manufacturing, engineering, transport, mining and energy sectors.

Aisha’s first party property expertise has been significantly enhanced through secondments in major/complex loss roles at three large multinational insurers. While on secondments, Aisha managed a portfolio of ISR, CAR/EAR, Engineering and Plant & Equipment claims, CAT events and provided underwriting support. This ‘hands on’ claims experience has given him an excellent appreciation of the challenges and needs of insurers, and he brings a commercial and considered approach to claims management. He is presently assisting several international property insurer clients with claims arising out of the 2021 and 2022 flooding and severe weather events.

Aisha leverages his extensive property and casualty experience to his growing subrogated recovery practice. He has successfully pursued several high-profile recoveries for insurers and their insureds, including the landmark Lacrosse litigation involving combustible ACP cladding and the Hobart Rivulet collapse. His recoveries expertise extends to goods in transit claims against carriers, including sea and air.

Aisha has significant experience with property and liability claims in the transport and logistics industries and regularly acts for insurers of shippers, domestic carriers, logistics and port/terminal operators, and freight forwarders. He frequently provides advice and guidance on disputes, including casualty and policy defence.

He is recognised in the latest Legal 500 Asia Pacific for Transport: Shipping.

Property

  • Successfully defending an insurer in litigated Federal Court proceedings involving a series of incidents at a waste treatment and resource recovery facility, where in excess of $40 million was claimed for damage and consequential losses.
  • Defending a contract works insurer in a series of claims arising from prolonged flood and rain ingress damage to a site during the construction of a large residential building project in Melbourne.
  • Successfully extracting a contract works insurer from a litigated claim for over $2.5 million involving water inundation to a commercial building site, which raised issues around ‘physical damage’ and interplay with a dewatering exclusion in the CAR policy.
  • Providing coverage advice on claims involving wide area damage to assets and infrastructure and resultant CBI losses to hotelier insureds arising from bushfires on Kangaroo and Fraser Islands.
  • Providing coverage advice and support to several insurers on claims for infrastructure losses arising out of the 2021 and 2022 severe weather events in Australia – particularly issues around the application of flood exclusions and variant ‘wet work’ exclusions in CAR and ISR policies.

Property Damage (Third Party)

  • Acting for the liability insurers of a contractor in defence of a claim involving damage to a bespoke 10km pipe conveyor system at a gold mine in Papua New Guinea. A break in the conveyor caused significant property damage and months of BI losses, with a claimed value of USD39 million. W+K defended the contractor in a Federal Court recovery action brought by the gold mine’s insurers.
  • Representing Victoria’s largest electricity distributor and its insurers in the defence of class actions arising out of the 2009 (Black Saturday) and 2018 Victorian bushfires. The cases involved technical expert evidence and novel legal issues, particularly around damages. Aisha instructed at three trials and two appeals to the Victorian Court of Appeal. More than 250 claims for property damage and personal injury were assessed and resolved in the 2009 cases. Aisha continues to act in defence of property damage claims for a number of Victoria’s electrical distributors and has a deep knowledge of the ‘ins and outs’ of the regulatory overlay impacting civil claims.
  • Acting for a liability insurer and its insured plant hirer/servicing agent in defence of a subrogated recovery claim in excess of $4.5m.
  • Acting for the liability insurer of a diesel generator manufacturer/importer in a claim brought by a state electricity distributor for the generator catching fire to a power plant and causing an electricity ‘blackout’ on an offshore island. Aisha represented the insured in Supreme Court litigation and resolved the claim early and cheaply at informal ADR.
  • Regularly acting in defence of public and product liability claims against plumbers, builders, electricians and other contractors in state courts and in VCAT (including claims under the Water Act and Domestic Building Contracts Act).

Product Liability + Recall

  • Representing a Japanese company and its insurer in the defence of a high-profile multi-party class action brought on behalf of consumers alleged to have suffered personal injuries from the consumption of Bonsoy soy milk. The case involved complicated medical evidence and private international law. Aisha was the key point of liaison between many stakeholders in the claim.
  • Acting for an insurer in a litigated coverage dispute with a captive where a manufacturing product defect occurred across two insurance programs. The claim involved detailed consideration of the trigger of indemnity. Aisha represented the insurer at an early mediation and in subsequent negotiations, achieving a withdrawal of the claim against W+K’s client.
  • Regularly acting on instructions from an ASX-listed company in litigated and unlitigated property damage and personal injury claims of all sizes arising from various consumer products, including air conditioning/cooling units, heaters, bathroom fittings and other appliances.

Subrogation + Recoveries

  • Acting in the high-profile and landmark Lacrosse fire litigation involving combustible ACP cladding on a residential high-rise building. W+K acted for building/lot owners and their insurer and were successful in recovering compensation for fire damage and replacing the defective cladding on the building.
  • Acting on behalf of a co-insurer market and its insured in a high-value recovery for extensive damage to property and consequential loss arising from the Hobart Rivulet collapse in Hobart, Tasmania.
  • Acting on behalf of the subrogating co-insurer market on a large fire loss in a commercial premise in Sydney CBD. Aisha represented the landlord in a contractual claim against the tenant and resolved the litigated claim at near full value at early ADR.
  • Acting in a multi-party recovery claim involving a ducting fire in an insured café premises.
  • Regularly acting for subrogating insurers in scoping, proofing, assessing and pursuing recoveries of all values relating to damage to property, including under contract works, ISR/commercial property, plant and equipment, cargo, marine and casualty policies, and across the spectrum of construction, manufacturing, engineering, transport, mining and energy sectors.

Marine, Transport + Trade

  • Acting for a defendant in a large multi-party Federal Court Admiralty proceeding. The litigation involved a fire onboard a livestock carrier vessel while in port and claims for firefighting costs, demurrage and other losses. W+K acted for one of the defendants, a subcontracting supplier of grain to the vessel, whose equipment was implicated in fire ignition.
  • Defending an aviation maintenance contractor against a claim by a major national airline. The claim involved damage to a high-profile third party private jet damaged by ground handling equipment in a high wind event at Sydney Airport. Adopting a proactive resolution strategy, the claim was resolved at a significant discount at an early voluntary mediation convened between the parties before litigation.
  • Defending an international product manufacturer/retailer in litigated proceedings for circa $1.5 million brought by the subrogated insurer of a superyacht. The circumstances concerned a fire on a vessel undergoing repairs and involved complex forensic fire origin and cause evidence and issues on damages/quantum.
  • Advising a marine cargo insurer on a large static cargo loss involving the seizure/forfeiture of goods in China.
  • Advising a marine insurer on coverage for a large loss involving contamination of food products in the supply chain.
  • Representing a listed energy company in the successful defence of several proceedings arising from a fatal work injury on an offshore drilling platform in Bass Strait, resulting in the claim against the client being withdrawn.
  • Advising a commodities trader on risk management issues arising under a proposed voyage charter party and providing drafting assistance.
Areas of Expertise
  • Class Actions
  • Marine + Transport
  • Product Liability + Recall
  • Property – Commercial
  • Property Damage
  • Subrogated recoveries

Industry Representation
  • Construction + Infrastructure
  • Energy, Mining + Power
  • Manufacturing + Consumer Goods
  • Marine + Transport

Professional Affiliations
  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand
  • Building Dispute Practitioners’ Society
  • Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (Committee Member, Victoria branch)
  • Melbourne Marine Insurance Forum (Treasurer)
  • Vic Claims Discussion Group