Contentious Insurance

Our Contentious Insurance Group is a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in insurance-related litigation. We understand that the unique considerations and complexities of insurance disputes require incisive technical but also commercially driven legal advice. Our high calibre lawyers have extensive experience of contentious insurance matters in Ireland and the London Market.

The Group operates both in collaboration with the Insurance & Reinsurance team in respect of potentially litigious matters and considerations of policy wording and on a stand-alone basis where it is instructed directly by insurers, re-insurers, brokers and captive insurers.

We act on behalf of both local and international clients in high-stakes and high-value insurance disputes in the Irish Courts, including where alternative dispute resolution options have been availed of. We act on multiple mandates on behalf of insurers, re-insurers and run-off managers in respect of complex, high-value insurance coverage disputes, often involving multi-jurisdictional elements. 

The Contentious Insurance Group’s core expertise includes advising on policy coverage, the defence of claims, pursing subrogated recoveries, handling fraudulent claims and drafting policies in the following insurance sectors:

  • Engineering, Construction and Energy
  • Professional Indemnity
  • Public Liability
  • Product Liability and Recall
  • Commercial and Residential Property Damage
  • Commercial Risk and Business Interruption
  • Reinsurance
  • Directors & Officers and Errors & Omissions Insurance
  • Financial lines, including Market Risk and Fidelity Guarantee cover
  • Agriculture; and
  • Local Authority

We also act in parallel regulatory and litigation matters on behalf of various financial sectors and advise on related coverage issues pre and post the instigation of disputes and/or investigations.

We advise clients dealing with investigations and enquiries by various regulatory bodies, including the Central Bank and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, on associated coverage and claims issues.

We provide a full dispute resolution service to our insurance and reinsurance clients, including advising on alternative dispute resolution in insurance disputes, and with the advent of the Commercial Court and adoption of UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, greater opportunities for the swift resolution of major insurance disputes in Ireland can be availed of.



William Fry has an extensive Insurance and Reinsurance practice representing clients in all sectors of the industry. The Firm's most recent contentious insurance experience includes:

  • Advising on the appropriate wording of a Catastrophe Excess of Loss Reinsurance for a financial services body.
  • Advising on the commutation and novation of a book of Workers' Compensation Reinsurance business.
  • Advising on the wording in mortgage indemnity guarantee policies.
  • Advising a leading company providing title insurance to the real estate and mortgage industries in respect of claims made on foot of its policies.
  • Advising a number of international corporate companies on professional negligence claims made against them.  Such entities include stockbrokers, international accountancy & consultancy firms, international real estate & valuation firms and international insurance brokers.
  • Advising various Construction and Engineering clients, State bodies and an international media corporation in respect of claims by third parties and the coverage afforded to them under their insurance arrangements.
  • Acting for various corporate entities and individual insureds regarding claims on policies such as Directors & Officers, Credit Risk insurance, Product Liability and claims in connection with Intellectual Property rights.
  • Members of the Group have also obtained instructive and invaluable experience following secondments to major insurers in the UK and Ireland.

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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.


  • William Fry have "industry leading knowledge in the insurance practice." One client notes that they "have worked with multiple attorneys and departments within William Fry and have found that all of those attorneys possess in-depth knowledge of the Irish regulatory market and provide advice from a practical point of view." Another client adds that the team "respond in a timely and thorough manner and provide valuable insights. They also raise considerations that we may not have thought of." Legal 500 2020
  • One client describes the team as "very receptive and responsive," as well as "easy to engage, straightforward and practical." Another source enthuses that the "client service is exceptional," adding: "They understand our business, and the sector generally. That depth of understanding and practical experience with other organisations means they have previously faced many of the challenges we face." Chambers Europe 2020
  • 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 


John Larkin

  • John has been described by clients as having "industry leading knowledge and a wealth of practical experience in Irish and European insurance matters. John’s calm demeanour, understanding of how theory relates to practice and ability to understand and translate clients’ issues are particularly valuable." Another client adds that John has "been exceptional in helping us navigate through complex Brexit-related issues." Legal 500 2020
  • "Larkin is extremely knowledgeable and helps us navigate through complicated regulatory matters." reports one interviewee. Chambers Europe 2020
  • One client describes John as "knowledgeable, personable, and available. An excellent business partner and adviser." Chambers Europe 2019
  • John is an "incredible lawyer," market commentators enthuse, highlighting the depth of his knowledge in this area. Another interviewee reports that he "really pays attention to detail." Chambers Europe 2018
  • John Larkin, whose "industry knowledge is second to none", has "built a strong team around him". Legal 500 EMEA 2018
  • 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

Eoin Caulfield

  • Eoin has been described by clients as "very knowledgeable, hard-working, pragmatic and solution-oriented." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Eoin is revered throughout the market for his expertise assisting prominent insurers and reinsurers. Interviewees praise his "excellent knowledge" when advising clients on regulatory and transactional instructions. Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Clients hold Eoin in high esteem for his presence on insurance matters. They report that he is "very responsive, flexible and commercial." Chambers Europe 2018 
  • 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 

Owen O'Sullivan

  • Owen garners widespread praise for his expertise in shareholder disputes and regulatory enforcement actions. "He is surgical in his approach; he can pick a case apart to find the strengths and weaknesses," says one impressed interviewee. Another source notes: "He understands all of the issues involved in going to court and is good at explaining those issues." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Owen has been ranked has a 'Leading Individual' in Legal 500 2020, where one client mentioned he is a "great tactical thinker."
  • Sources describe him as "an excellent litigator" and a "very polished operator." Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Market commentators describe Owen O'Sullivan as "deadly efficient, thorough, cool and analytical" in his approach to commercial litigation. Chambers Global 2018
  • Owen O’Sullivan is ‘an excellent legal thinker’. Legal 500 2018
  • Owen O'Sullivan receives plaudits from a range of market commentators, describing him as an "excellent corporate litigator" and "a very astute operator"who has "very tactical and good commercial judgement." Chambers Global 2017
  • Owen O'Sullivan is a litigator and dispute resolution specialist with an exceptional reputation, including sound knowledge and experience of insurance disputes who is "quickly able to make decisions on how to handle certain situations, taking into account all stakeholders that may be affected." Interviewees praise him as a "very astute guy with really reliable intuition in court."  Chambers Europe 2016

Key Contacts

Paul Convery Partner

Fiona Barry Partner

Ruairi Rynn Partner