Contentious Insurance

Our Contentious Insurance Group is a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in insurance defence 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 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

The advent of the Commercial Court and adoption of UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration provides greater opportunities for the swift resolution of major insurance disputes in Ireland.

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.

The Setanta Case Turns Yet Another Corner

MIBI to appeal ruling that it should meet Setanta claims to Supreme Court

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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

Owen O'Sullivan Partner

Fiona Barry Partner