Insurance & Reinsurance

Our dedicated Insurance Department is consistently recognised as the market leader in Ireland on insurance (life and non-life) and reinsurance matters.  This multi-disciplinary team has provided legal, regulatory and tax expertise in some of the largest and most complex (re)insurance transactions in recent years. Our specialist expertise covers all aspects of (re)insurance law and regulation and our clients include many of the largest domestic and international insurers and reinsurers. 

Areas of expertise include: 

  • Establishment / authorisation of new (re)insurance operations and strategic planning
  • Mergers, acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, re-structuring of businesses and Societas Europaea structures 
  • Court-sanctioned portfolio transfers and schemes of arrangements 
  • All prudential and conduct of business requirements under Solvency II including capital requirements, corporate and product governance, compliance and outsourcing 
  • Captive (re)insurance operations (life and non-life)
    Alternative risk transfer arrangements including insurance-linked securitisations (ILS) 
  • Insurance mediation activities and distribution channelsReinsurance / retrocession arrangements (including finite and financial reinsurance)
  • Winding up and administration of insurers
  • Regulatory investigations and enforcement actions


As a full-service law firm we are able to draw extensively on our colleagues’ expertise in M&A, tax, Competition & Regulation, Litigation & Dispute Resolution and other areas.

Our experience includes advising/acting for:

Mergers and Acquisitions

Acting on the buy-side or sell-side in domestic and international deals including:

  • Berkshire Hathaway (Columbia Insurance) on its acquisition of Hartford Life Europe
  • SCOR on its acquisition of the mortality risk business of Transamerica Re
  • RSA Insurance on its acquisitions of Europa Group, Sertus Insurance and Benchmark Underwriting
  • Alterra/Harbor Point (now Markel) in its amalgamation with Max Capital
  • Enstar on its acquisition of Citilife Financial (now Laguna Life) from Citigroup 
  • and its vendors on its acquisition by RSA Insurance
  • NPG Wealth Management (JC Flowers) on its acquisition of Combined Life Assurance Company of Europe from ACE Group
  • Vivas Health vendors on its sale to Aviva Insurance
  • Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) on the acquisition on a renewals basis of the life accident and health business of XL Re
  • IPC Re in relation to its merger with Validus, and previous amalgamation plan involving Max Capital
  • Wellpoint on the acquisition of DeCare Dental
  • Carlyle Group on its acquisition of the motor assist business RAC Group from Aviva 

Restructurings and Portfolio Transfers

Domestic and cross-border restructurings and inward/outward transfers of (re)insurance books involving High Court and regulatory authorisations including:

  • Allied World, Alterra (Markel), AXA and SCOR on Court sanctioned mergers of Irish insurance, reinsurance and hedging platforms
  • Electrolux on the portfolio transfer of the non-life insurance business from its Irish captive to its Swedish captive
  • Ericsson in the portfolio transfers of its insurance and reinsurance captive business to its non-life local carrier 
  • Scottish Re on the portfolio transfer of its Irish business to its Cayman Islands affiliate
  • Darta Saving Life and Allianz on the portfolio transfer of German branch life business
  • Oney on the portfolio transfer of its PPI portfolio to its Malta insurance platform 

Authorisations and New Establishments

The establishment of head office operations in Ireland selling on a freedom of services/freedom of establishment basis across EEA jurisdictions including recent set-ups involving:

  • AXA Life Europe, AXA Life Invest and AXA Reinsurance Ireland
  • Allianz Global Life
  • MetLife
  • Fidelity Worldwide Investment (FIL)
  • Wüstenrot & Württembergische
  • R&V Lebensversicherung 
  • Santander Insurance
  • Ironshore

Insurance Linked Securitisations and Capital Markets

  • SCOR on the various Atlas (I to VI) cat bond insurance linked securitisations
  • Scottish Re on its Orkney II and Ballantyne Re securitised reinsurance structures
  • AXA Cessions in its Osiris mortality cat bond programme
  • AXA as sponsor of Calypso Capital in its European windstorm debt issuance
  • EDF as sponsor of Pylon II

Run-offs and Winding-ups

  • Berkshire Hathaway (Columbia Insurance) on its acquisition of Hartford Life Europe
  • LCL Acquisitions (Charles Taylor Group) on its acquisition of Irish non-life insurance undertaking Santam Europe (in run off)
  • Enstar on its acquisition of Citilife (now Laguna Life)
  • Capricorn Insurance, IAG Re (Australia) (and others) on schemes leading to the surrender back of (re)insurance authorisations to the Central Bank of Ireland

General Advisory and Other Regulatory Work

  • Various authorised (re)insurers on on-going legal and regulatory aspects, including dialogue with the Central Bank of Ireland on areas such as product development and corporate governance best practice and potentially contentious matters such as on-site visits, administrative sanctions and enforcement.

Contentious Insurance

  • Advising various professional firms regarding professional indemnity claims including stockbrokers, accountancy and consultancy firms, real estate and valuation firms, and international insurance brokers
  • Acting for a major Irish insurer in relation to professional indemnity and public products liability cases.  Subrogated claims against third parties, property damage and business interruption policies
  • Advising on the coverage and policy wording of various insurance policies for bodies in the financial services sector including reinsurance, catastrophe insurance, D&O and combined business & liability insurance

English High Court Blocks Proposed Transfer of Annuity Policies Between Insurance Companies

English High Court objects to the scheme of transfer of £12 billion annuities from Prudential Assurance Company to Rothesay Life Plc

Central Bank of Ireland Publishes Third Insurance Quarterly Newsletter for 2019

Articles relate to compliance with conditions of authorisation, insurance and climate change and Brexit

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The William Fry insurance team is consistently rated "Band 1" and a leader in its field by publications including Chambers Europe, Legal 500, IFLR, “Who’s Who of Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers” and “World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers”.

Members of the team including John LarkinEoin Caulfield and Owen O'Sullivan are individually ranked as "Leading Individuals" and as "Band 1".

The team prides itself on service excellence and a commercial and solution-oriented approach to its work.


  • Interviewees single out the firm for its pragmatism, citing a "very commercial approach and strong focus on business needs". Another interviewee echoes a similar sentiment: "we were very impressed by their responsiveness and their ability to grasp the commercial reality of their client's situation". Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Interviewees appreciate that the team delivered "unequivocal advice with confidence, which allowed us to get on with our business." The team has "an eye for detail," reports one client, while another adds that the lawyers are "very thorough and focused." Chambers Europe, 2018 
  • Clients agree that the lawyers are "excellent: they provide a quick turnaround and are very pragmatic." Another source praises the team's "good knowledge and service,"  adding: "They are well known for insurance matters."  Chambers Europe 2017 
  • William Fry’s team provides ‘excellent partner access and practical advice’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2017
  • "This firm has been a great cultural fit for us. There is no pomp and circumstance - the lawyers are very knowledgeable and hard-working but don't have the arrogance you can sometimes experience elsewhere." Another client noted that William Fry are "A leading firm in the area of insurance and corporate transactions, matching up against anyone else I could recommend." Chambers Europe, 2016
  • "Excellent on all fronts." Legal 500 EMEA, 2016 
  • "The lawyers are by our side in a fast and evolving regulatory landscape; it doesn't feel like working with an anonymous corporate law firm. They are very solution-oriented and pragmatic in their approach. Their depth of knowledge and willingness to turn things around in a tight timeframe are fabulous."  Another client noting  "The team provides comprehensive and effective advice on complex transactions, which are completed on time and within budget." Chambers Europe, 2015
  • William Fry is ‘a known centre of insurance expertise’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • "The team is impressive. It is in tune with what I want, responsive and gets great results."  A market commentator noted "The lawyers are incredibly knowledgeable, but not at all arrogant. It is an authority in our industry."   Chambers Europe, 2014


  • John Larkin
    • John Larkin remains a market-leading practitioner in non-contentious insurance matters. Sources praise his outstanding reputation, with one client opining: "He is probably the standout figure in the industry." Chambers Europe, 2017 
    • John Larkin is "widely known as a leader in the market" offering "excellent experience, particularly in the context of anticipating regulatory involvement"Chambers Europe, 2016 
    • The team, led by John Larkin, is ‘diligent and detailed’Legal 500 EMEA, 2016
    • John Larkin ‘provides practical solutions’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
    • "There is nothing about insurance that he doesn't know. He is a great guy to go to when you have a problem because he will always give you time and make sure you get support and attention." Chambers Europe, 2015 
    • Department head John Larkin "is focused, solution-driven and commercially minded. He has great industry knowledge," enthuse clients. Chambers Europe, 2014 
  • Eoin Caulfield
    • Eoin Caulfield enjoys a superb reputation as a pre-eminent practitioner in corporate and transactional insurance mandates. Clients say: "He is a reinsurance expert with a good overview of the Irish market. He is very efficient, affable and always available when needed.Chambers Europe, 2017 
    • Eoin "demonstrated exceptional expertise and a pragmatic approach. He dealt with sensitive issues skilfully to advance our interests without getting into a row or generating disputes." Chambers Europe, 2016 
    • "Eoin Caulfield has a fantastic understanding of liability". Legal 500 EMEA, 2016 
    • Eoin Caulfield ‘provides practical solutions’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
    • Eoin's "ability to cut through complicated issues and arrive at an opinion. He is practical, prompt and thorough, making everything easy." Chambers Europe, 2015 
    • Eoin Caulfield is praised as "pragmatic, understands everything about the area, and provides practical and solution-oriented advice." Chambers Europe, 2014 
  • Owen O'Sullivan
    • Interviewees describe Owen O'Sullivan as "very well regarded and a good litigator." Chambers Europe, 2017
    • A client states "Owen O'Sullivan is a litigator and dispute resolution specialist with an exceptional reputation, including sound knowledge and experience of insurance disputes." Chambers Europe, 2016 
    • Sources regard Owen O'Sullivan as "pragmatic and a deal maker. He is a great litigator."  Chambers Europe, 2014 


Key Contacts

John Larkin Partner

Eoin Caulfield Partner

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