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March 2012 - Closer links forged with Singapore, Hong Kong

During January, my family and I enjoyed 10 days in Singapore and Hong Kong, which included meetings with members of the Insurance Law Association Singapore (ILAS) and the Hong Kong Insurance Law Association (HILA). 

ILAS was my first point of call. Unfortunately ILAS president Danny Ooi was in Paris, however I met Justyn Jagger, a partner at DLA Piper; David Liu, of DLA Piper; Julian Teoh, of DAC Beachcroft; and Kent Chaplin, Lloyd's representative in Singapore. Kent has said Lloyd's is keen to assist AILA with its efforts in the Asia Pacific region.

ILAS has about 20 corporate memberships and is keen to receive documentation and information from AILA on membership modelling and activities of the Young Professionals, including functions such as the luminaries dinner.

ILAS members are keen to pursue closer regional ties and to have some representation at the national conference in Tasmania. ILAS has been going for about 20 years and its major challenge is building the membership base.

On January 12 in Hong Kong I gave a presentation on subrogation and dual insurance at the DLA Piper office. About 20 people attended - a mixture of lawyers and insurers. It was followed by Andrew Bellers, general counsel of Aon; Will Harrison, a DLA Piper partner; and Mei Wah Leung, of the Hong Kong Bar, hosting me to a fine lunch at the Mandarin Grill.

While HILA has been re-birthed, the steering committee is still working through some issues with the constitution so a formal executive has not yet been appointed. The honorary president is Justice Reyes, of the High Court. Mei Wah Leung is the chairperson and Andrew Bellers and Will Harrison are members of the steering committee.

As with Singapore, there is no secretariat. Like ILAS, Hong Kong would appreciate receiving some assistance from AILA in relation to similar issues. Mei Wah also raised the possibility of HILA members being able to access the AILA website and I will raise this for discussion with the board.

Personnel from Norton Rose were unable to attend on January 12, and I was invited to attend their office on January 16, where I met Camille Jojo, Jim James and another David Lee - an Englishman.

Norton Rose has also been very involved in the re-birthing of the Hong Kong AIDA chapter.

HILA has about 60 members. A membership drive will not be pursued until there is a formal executive appointed after the constitution has been updated. HILA members also were enthusiastic about having some representation at the national conference.

There is enthusiasm from ILAS and HILA to forge close relationships with AILA and I'll be pursuing that goal in discussions with the board.

Membership increases

AILA has seen excellent growth throughout 2011, with membership reaching record levels. The print run for AILA News for Australian and New Zealand members has now reached 2,000.

I encourage all members to aim to grow the membership further. Invite your colleagues to an AILA function or share your copy of AILA News, which is posted five times a year to every member.

A key goal during my presidency is to continue expanding the membership, particularly from industry representatives.

UK reform conference

President of the British Insurance Law Association (BILA) and Vice-President of the International Insurance Law Association (AIDA), Professor Rob Merkin, has invited NZILA President Craig Langstone and me to participate in a panel discussion on the likely effect of reforms on the insurance industry.

The panel will be during a conference on insurance law reform in London on Monday, April 16, convened by BILA and to be hosted by Norton Rose. Other panel speakers will include representatives of the UK Law Commission and the Financial Ombudsman and potentially an insurance judge.

David Lee 

AILA President



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