Chartis aims to bring down costs with European panel

Chartis, the property casualty insurance carrier of US insurance giant AIG, is to launch its first European panel in 2012 in an effort to streamline its legal spend.

European general counsel Chris Newby said that in addition to establishing a Europe-wide roster the insurer would create a panel for its newly launched ­London headquarters.

“We have a large legal spend on claims and we want to align it with the ­corporate panel, with all the synergies that go with that,” Newby said. “We have a huge spend on claims and we want to reduce that.”

The insurer currently uses around 80 firms across Europe on an ad hoc basis, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer being its go-to firm for M&A deals. ­Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, CMS Cameron McKenna, Clyde & Co and Norton Rose are all Chartis advisers.

Freshfields is advising the insurer on the merger of its European and UK businesses, which is expected to complete in December 2012, in a move that will see the entire entity regulated by the FSA.

The company has moved its headquarters to London, Newby said, and another panel would be established to serve its corporate needs.

He added that he planned to “harness Chartis’ buying power” and was looking for economic efficiencies from tendering firms.

The insurer will also look for firms to work in its ­specialist practice areas such as directors and officers insurance, and errors and omissions cover.

Newby said: “I want to be able to say to firms, ’if we give you x millions in work you’ll give us a discount’.”