The internationalisation of insurance law continues apace. Just four months after securing a merger with US practice Carroll McNulty & Kull (CMK), Kennedys has taken a New York team from Sedgwick including the firm’s former managing partner, John Blanchett. Partners Christopher Novak and Matthew Ferguson will also join Kennedys alongside three associates.
Blanchett, who headed up Sedgwick’s financial institutions (FI) practice, focuses on commercial crime, fidelity, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability and media liability as well as other types of insurance. Novak specialises in insurance coverage disputes and Ferguson’s practice covers both domestic and international coverage matters.
Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) said that the team hire was a substantive move for its institutional practice and would significantly raise Kennedy’s US profile. ‘In addition to complementing our US offering, the team will significantly strengthen our London market capabilities, which is crucial for international FI matters.’
Kennedys merged with CMK in May, adding 43 partners to its offering as well as five offices including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas.
Its recent US investments cap off a frenetic period of international expansion for the top 50 UK insurance specialist. The London-based adviser has opened five offices in Latin America since the second half of 2016. In his time as senior partner, Thomas has overseen the firm’s growth into an international insurance player, with offices in locations including Sydney, Hong Kong and Miami.
Recently the firm has also opened offices in Russia and Denmark and formed associations in Norway, Sweden and Argentina. Closer to home, in March Kennedys hired a 24-strong casualty claims team from Hill Dickinson’s Sheffield branch, resulting in the closure of the latter’s operations in the region.
With insurance clients being among the most canny and thrifty on both sides of the Atlantic, London’s band of specialist law firms are increasingly moving to go global as a means of avoiding a race to the bottom of the value chain. With sector leader Clyde & Co already well into a highly-successful expansion programme in the US, the strategy appears to be paying off far more clearly than for larger City counterparts focused on transactional work.