QBE splits advisers into two in new-look roster

Insurance giant QBE has revamped its roster of external advisers for its European operations and created two distinct panels for the first time.

The core panel, which handles a variety of work including employment, data protection, corporate, and regulatory matters, consists of DAC Beachcroft, Mayer Brown, Norton Rose Fulbright and RPC.  Added to this is a strategic panel, on which Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters and Slaughter and May have won places. They will advise on transactions that are of strategic importance to the insurer.

QBE European operations general counsel Esther Felton said: “We’d had a panel in place since 2010 so it was right for review. We’d reaped the rewards from that. In 2010 there were only two lawyers [internally] – now the function covers legal and regulatory, compliance, so our needs have changed as well in terms of what we need from an external provider.

“We were looking for firms that had breadth and experience in managing legal risk.”

The new rosters supersede the old single panel, which was formed in 2010 and consisted of Clyde & Co, Mayer Brown, legacy Norton Rose, and Pinsent Masons. Linklaters and Slaughter and May had been used in an off-panel arrangement for specific corporate deals.

The process took account of the claims legal panel, which was reduced earlier this year from 16 to 12. That tender was led by claims director Dominic Clayden, who joined from Aviva in December 2013.  Firms that have won places on both the core and claims panel are DAC Beachcroft, Mayer Brown and RPC. Clyde & Co, which did not continue on the core panel this year, nevertheless retains a place on the claims roster.

QBE recently announced the appointment of a group general counsel and company secretary, based in the company’s headquarters in Sydney. Peter Horton will succeed Duncan Ramsay and joins from Woolworths, where he was also group general counsel. He will start at QBE on 9 June.