McKennas aims for top spot in Polish insurance

McKenna & Co's Warsaw office has begun targeting insurance work in a strategy which fits in with its planned merger with Cameron Markby Hewitt.

It has signalled its intention of becoming the “leading insurance practice in Poland” by taking on one of the top local figures in the insurance sector, Beata Balas-Noszczyk.

Balas-Noszczyk, who was previously with the Insurance Department at the Ministry of Finance, acted as the Polish representative on the Committee for Insurance Affairs at the OECD and the EU.

She will be a senior attorney with McKennas and will take up the role of head of the Insurance Law Department.

Warsaw-based partner Andrew Kozlowski, said: “Following the announcement of the firm's merger with Cameron Markby Hewitt, which has excellent insurance resources, it made sense for us to concentrate more on the insurance sector in Poland.” He added the firm would be forming a dedicated team of three or four insurance lawyers to support Balas-Noszczyk, “one of the best known and well regarded insurance lawyers in the country”.

Kozlowski said a dedicated team was essential if the practice was to become the leading insurance practice in Poland and so attract work representing insurance firms coming into the country after Poland is accepted into the EU.

The practice is also developing a pensions division in parallel with the insurance arm, having recently helped draft the domestic law on private pensions.

Solicitor Iain Batty, who is splitting his time between London and Warsaw, is expected to relocate to Poland later this year, and will be attached to the pensions department.

With a team of 24 lawyers, McKennas is the largest English practice in Warsaw, and it is now seeking to expand through local lawyers.