Clyde & Co partner Jennette Newman has been elected as the new President of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL), and will lead the organisation into a new era and operating environment ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic.
FOIL is a member organisation representing those engaged in the defence of insurance-related claims. Its members act for insurers, self-insured companies and all authorities in the public and private sectors.
At the top of the agenda for Jennette is ensuring the industry remains resilient to change, as it faces three complex challenges:
- Climate change and its myriad physical, transition and liability risks,
- Social inflation, in which the shifting landscape of new societal and stakeholder expectations are driving balance sheet and market stresses (particularly on the casualty side),
- COVID-19’s impact on the insurance sector which has seen it usher in a new operating environment.
Over the next year, FOIL will continue to work closely with its members, recognising that they are heavily involved in understanding the business imperatives of the insurance sector and are trusted advisors to their clients. A role that will be more important than ever in 2021, with the culture of business life in the spotlight and increasing amount of responsibility being placed on businesses to respond to political and social priorities. For this reason, a key line of work within FOIL will focus on helping the sector build on its reputation as a vital part of the UK economy.
Commenting on her appointment, Jennette says: “I am delighted to be appointed President of FOIL at a pivotal moment for the industry as the need for resilience in the face of change is more important than ever.
“Over the next year, customer focus is going to be key. The industry needs to embrace better communication and more efficient distribution by making smarter use of technology. Advanced tech will play an important role in helping build better relationships and alignments with customers’ needs. For this reason, improved protection of customer data needs to be a key industry priority.
“As lawyers, this means we need to stand ready to support closer and more transparent interaction in the form of clearer wordings, better product descriptions and improved efficiency in claims processing in order to support the reputation of the industry and its role in the UK economy.
“Now more than ever, we need the right people in the insurance and legal professions to manage the challenges we face. Given the unprecedented level of challenge and change 2021 is sure to bring, we need to attract people from other industries into the market – people who can bring experience and fresh perspectives. FOIL will also be looking into how best to support this.”
Jennette has over 20 years’ legal experience in UK and International casualty claims including coverage and monitoring advice and defence litigation and mediation. For a long time, Jennette has played a crucial role in the organisation having previously been President of London FOIL, the arm of the organisation supporting the Lloyds of London and (Re)Insurance markets. Jennette plays an active role within the industry and is currently Chair of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Professional Standards Committee.
Commenting on Jennette’s appointment, FOIL Chief Executive Laurence Besemer adds: “Jennette is well positioned to help lead FOIL through the next year by highlighting the industry’s resilience and adaptability. Her depth of experience and passion for promoting talent will help drive a much-needed transition within the sector to embrace greater transparency and social change.
“Despite the challenges faced by everyone this year, FOIL has continued to evolve into an organisation offering a strong, independent voice for the whole industry. This year FOIL has launched three new commercial focuses looking at marine, environment and sports insurance issues, whilst FOIL Ireland and London FOIL continue to grow in size and influence.”
In addition, Clyde & Co partner Bruce Goodbrand has been elected as Chair of FOIL Scotland, a newly-formed role to coordinate the work of the six Sector Focus Teams operating in the jurisdiction, in line with FOIL’s operations in the rest of the UK. In the role, Bruce will also liaise closely with the Forum of Scottish Claims Managers (FSCM) and attend their quarterly meetings.
Bruce has almost 20 years of experience in general insurance work, specialising in complex personal injury claims. He deals with all aspects of EL, PL and motor cases. He also has an extensive background in regulatory work, having advised on numerous Fatal Accident Inquiries and Health & Safety prosecutions over the years.
Commenting on his election, Bruce says: “This is a great opportunity to advance the interests of our clients and our firm. Alongside Jennette’s election, it continues Clyde & Co’s proud history of supporting FOIL and effecting real change for all concerned.”