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Alex Denslow

Languages

English, French

Alex Denslow

Partner
CMS Cameron McKenna LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London EC4N 6AF
United Kingdom

T +44 (0)20 7367 3050
F +44 (0)20 7367 2000
alexander.denslow@cms-cmck.com

Alex is Head of the CMS Insurance sector group. He is a recommended partner in Chambers and Legal 500 for insurance / reinsurance disputes and international arbitrations, and was shortlisted for the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer. Alex advises international insurers and reinsurers on direct and reinsurance disputes and coverage issues, across non-marine (particularly property and casualty) and marine (cargo, freight liability and offshore energy) matters. He also has extensive experience of defending brokers and their E&O insurers in major multi-party disputes. He provides coverage advice and handles the defence of claims across energy, specie, property solicitor and IFA lines of business.

Alex has considerable trial experience. He has been involved in several landmark cases including the Court of Appeal decisions in Bonner-v-Cox; Jones-v-Environcom; Clark-v-In Focus and Aspen Insurance-v-Adana Construction and acted in numerous successful confidential arbitrations.

Having held in-house positions at Miller Insurance Services LLP, Markel International and Aon, Alex’s advice is underpinned by an understanding of how the insurance market operates. He provides tailored risk management training to clients and lectures extensively on legal issues affecting the market, as well as litigation strategy. He is a co-author of the leading English legal textbook "Insurance Broking Practice and the Law". Alex was awarded the CMS Client Relationship Partner Award for outstanding service to his clients.

 

Relevant Experience

Professional Indemnity (defence and coverage)

• IFA and its PI insurers in the ground-breaking Court of Appeal decision of Clark v In Focus Asset Management. The case decided that a claimant cannot ordinarily complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, accept the maximum award limit, and then sue for the balance of loss in court. This appeal raised a very important point of principle and practice in relation to the FOS. It was of interest to complainants, financial companies, their insurers and those who complain to other Ombudsman Schemes. The decision came as a welcome relief to financial companies and their insurers.

• Aon in the heavyweight “77 Energy Cover” (Bonner-v-Cox) Commercial Court litigation, which concerned the six month trial of a complex £100m dispute over the placement by Aon of reinsurance of an energy cover purchased by Lloyd’s underwriters, involving issues of non-disclosure, misrepresentation and pencilled / promised lines.

• Broker Miles Smith in the Court of Appeal case of Jones v Environcom, the seminal decision on the duty of care owed by a broker to its client.

• Aon at trial in respect of a Commercial Court proceedings brought by its client Taylor Aston for alleged unpaid commission.

• A Lloyd’s coverholder in multi-party litigation arising from the alleged breach of a binding authority to place combined insurance for travel agents.

• Miller Insurance Services LLP in defence of Commercial Court proceedings brought by trustees of a retirement benefits scheme, relating to allegations of ineffective equalisation of a Normal Retirement Date (NRD) for men and women.

• Broker Jelf and its E&O insurers in multiparty London Mercantile court proceedings, involving detailed analysis of arguments relating to business interruption, advanced loss of profit and contractors all risk insurance arrangements.

• A broker in relation to a £3m claim by a storage waste facility in Gibraltar for alleged failure to advise upon appropriate levels of business interruption and property damage cover and applicability of underinsurance clauses.

• Miller Financial Services in £4m Chancery Division proceedings brought by engineering consultancy firm WYG in respect of alleged negligent advice given by MFS regarding the timing if winding up of a pension scheme.

• A major reinsurance broker in relation to claims arising from the destruction of a number of aircraft at Tripoli airport during the Libyan insurgency.

Reinsurance (defence and coverage)

• Reinsurers in relation to coverage and aggregation issues arising in connection with California Wildfires of 2007.
• Reinsurers in arbitration relating to elemental / non-elemental causation issues and also the trigger of an Original Insured Market Loss Warranty following an incident involving the FPSO Maersk Gryphon.
• Reinsurers in arbitration arising from losses caused by Typhoon Songda, specifically regarding the application of time-bar under Limitation Act to reinsurance collections.
• Complex arbitration proceedings for a US retrocedent in recovering US$250m against its PA spiral retrocessionaire, proving that the underlying claims were settled in a proper and business like fashion.
• London market casualty reinsurers in arbitration in the successful avoidance of the policy due to non-disclosure of material loss information at placement.
• Catastrophe excess of loss reinsurers upon coverage issues arising from Hurricane Frances, including the impact of ILW and OIML thresholds.
• Quota share reinsurers in arbitration upon rights of avoidance against its reinsured for failure to implement underwriting and management controls.

Liability (defence and coverage)

• A groundworks contractor in the Court of Appeal decision of Aspen v Adana Construction which concerned its coverage dispute with its liability insurer following a tower crane collapse. The subject matter was important to the construction industry and liability insurers alike, being the first reported decision on the meaning of “product” in a standard combined contractor’s liability policy and determining the inter-relationship of product and public liability sections and the operation of efficacy exclusions in product liability wordings.

• A global insurer a complex arbitration involving a coverage dispute following a claim made for US$ 17mn contingent business interruption losses flowing from the collapse of a bridge in Russia.

• Ace in a trial brought in the Court of Milan in respect of a claim for indemnity worth £8m brought by its insured broker. After several years of litigation, the Court found RiskReass were not entitled to indemnity from Ace due to the broker’s fraudulent misconduct.

• Providing coverage advice to Contractors’ Liability insurers in connection with the widely reported failure of steel bolts in the megaframe of the Leadenhall Building (“The Cheesegrater” building), some of which were forcibly ejected from their housing, falling to the ground/building below.

• Markel in a High Court trial, recovering damages against UPS for a defective product.

• Vauxhall Motors and its product liability insurers in respect of numerous defective product / product recall claims.


Energy, Marine, Specie (defence and coverage)

• A large market of Dutch reinsurers in London Commercial Court proceedings comprising a number of claims arising out of freight losses suffered by various reinsureds across the world.

• Italian insurers in relation to the successful subrogated recovery in a Commercial Court trial against the Salvage Association following a negligent JH143 Shipyard risk assessment survey which contributed to damage following a fire on the vessel MV Cala Palma.

• Reinsurers upon the applicability of the Refinery Exclusion Clause in JELC in relation to claims brought by cedents arising out of an explosion at a refinery.

• Marine hull and machinery insurers in respect of whether damage to the propeller could properly be regarded as resulting from “wear and tear” or a latent defect.

• Architect’s and engineers’ liability insurers in relation to allegations of negligent design and construction of wellhead platforms in the South Arne oil and gas field in the Danish North Sea.

• International Aquaculture insurers upon rights of avoidance, including jurisdictional issues, resolving complex conflict of interest issues and rights of the following market upon misrepresentations to the lead insurer.

• Fine Art insurers upon coverage issues in relation to damage to Tulane University caused by Hurricane Katrina and their outwards recoveries from whole account reinsurers.
• Continental reinsurers in relation to presentation of the casino barge losses arising from Hurricane Katrina.
• A leading London Market broker in mediating the settlement of a major trade credit dispute between one of the world's largest grain exporters, based in Missouri, and a major international Insurer, a dispute which involved both litigation in Missouri and arbitration in London, and arose from the buyer's default on grain exports to Mexico.

D&O coverage

• Non-Executive Directors of Equitable Life in arbitration with their D&O insurers.
• D&O insurers in respect of coverage issues relating to complaints arising from the Split Capital Investment Trust sector, including issues of blanket notifications and aggregation.

Membership

British Insurance Law Association

The Law Society

Education

1996 - The College of Law, Guildford
1995 - LLB, Southampton University
1991 - The King’s College School, Wimbledon


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