December 2019


Read a roundup of activities around the AILA and NZILA chapters


Northern Territory

By David Sweet

AILA NT has a new committee:

President – David Sweet, Minter Ellison
Vice President – Joanne Tutton, Gallagher
Secretary – Sarah Ellis, QBE
Treasurer – Jessica Holgersson, Minter Ellison
Committee members – Laura Hart, Sedgwick; Lance Schmidt, AFA Insurance Brokers


By Kate Stockford

Tasmania has well and truly been put back on the map after successfully hosting the 2019 National Conference.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference and special thanks to the wonderful speakers who gave up their time to present on their areas of expertise.
The conference started with a bang, with several pre-conference events, including the inaugural Ladies @ AILA event with a thought-provoking talk from Lara Giddings, Tasmania’s first female premier. That led into the Young Professionals networking drinks before the conference was officially opened by Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner at the welcome reception.

A highlight of the conference was an ethics debate between Team Tas (Chief Justice Alan Blow and Ken Read SC of Malthouse Chambers) and Team Qld (Kristi Riedel and Nola Pearce of Level Twenty Seven Chambers), expertly and hilariously moderated by Bernie Heinze, from the Federation of Defence and Corporate Counsel, USA. While Team Tas was victorious, Team Qld put up a good fight on the topic You can show them the wording but you can’t make them read it. It was ultimately determined that you can’t make the public read product disclosure statements.

The debate was a great way to end Thursday’s educational component before the conference dinner. The event had a wonderful Dark Mofo-esque feast feel in a huge cruise ship terminal with stilt walking entertainers, an irresistible menu, a brilliant band, and a photo booth with ridiculous outcomes.

Many delegates attended on Friday morning after the night before, albeit some looking worse for wear, before the conference officially ended with the closing lunch. Tasmanian star of musical theatre John X provided entertainment and was quiz master for a mini quiz to see just who had been listening.

Since the conference closed, the Tasmanian committee hasn’t been resting on its laurels.

On 22 November, Tasmania hosted Michael Gill to present the Geoff Masel Lecture.

On 29 November, there was  a Summer Fling, a Young Professional (and young at heart) networking event and social drinks at Post Street Social.

On 5 December it was the AGM and a planning session for 2020. Event preparation for 2020 is in progress with the Annual General Insurance Law Review locked and loaded for 25 March and hopefully events before then to use the long summer days.

It’s a good time to be in AILA in Tasmania, so if you know someone living #offthemap, please encourage them to join in the fun.

The Tasmanian committee wishes all AILA members and friends the best for the festive season and looks forward to working with you again in 2020.

New South Wales

By Andrew Thomas

The final quarter of 2019 continued the trend of well-supported events, headlined by a “Spring Fling” garden party for more than 300 YP members on 17 October.

Thanks to sponsors Lander & Rogers, Clyde & Co, MDD Accountants, Law in Order, Holman Webb Lawyers, and to the Young Professionals committee for organising this fantastic event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay.

Two sell-out events were Fairness revolution, covering contract terms legislation on 21 August and Feeling bamboozled?, which examined TPD claim developments. Thanks to Ray Giblett, from Norton Rose Fulbright, and Stanley Drummond, from Thomson Geer, respectively for organising the events.  

The year rounded out with the 2019 Annual  Life Insurance Review, Ups & downs of aviation litigation, and the AGM, on 4 December, where NSW Court of Appeal Justice Anthony Meagher spoke on interpreting insurance contracts.

As I finish my two-year tenure as NSW chair, it’s rewarding to see that we’ve achieved an average attendance of more than 100 people at more than 60 events during that time.

Personal highlights include the 35th anniversary of AILA dinner at Circular Quay and the 10th annual Luminaries Dinner at the Sydney Opera House. 

More than 50% of attendees at NSW events have come from outside the legal sector. That achievement is a result of the committee’s hard work to deliver productive networking and educational events and to make AILA a law association,  not a lawyers’ association.


By Alex Canavan and Berren Hamilton
Attendees at the Qld luminaries dinner  

A spectacular, inaugural Young Professionals Luminaries Dinner was held at Brisbane’s magnificent new function destination, Howard Smith Wharves, on Thursday 26 September.

The exclusive, invitation-only event was a sell out, with a room full of rising stars and leading lights of the insurance industry enjoying a unique opportunity to share  conversations and listen to an inspirational keynote address from former Australian netball captain Laura Geitz.
Thank you to sponsors Sedgwick, Carter Newell, Wotton + Kearney, Clyde & Co, and Barry.Nilsson for their outstanding support.

The YP Luminaries Dinner will return in 2020.

AILA Qld held a sold-out panel seminar on insurance fraud in November, presented by John Abramczyk, Senior Investigations Adviser at Suncorp, and Stephanie Cook, Special Counsel at Barry.Nilsson Lawyers, with Brett Charrington, barrister at More Chambers, as chair.

The seminar was an insightful discussion of practical difficulties faced in fraud claims and tracked how a fraud claim progressed from lodgement to resolution and considered perspectives from a fraud investigator and a solicitor.

AILA Qld’s final seminar for the year was the 2019 Geoff Masel Lecture – Insurance: Facing a change of era, presented by Michael Gill, an AILA founder and consultant at DLA Piper. The event was at Thomson Geer’s office and followed by networking drinks.

AILA Qld’s AGM was on 5 December and a new committee was elected for 2020.


South Australia

By Scott Duell
The Dive In Festival  

Although we are heading into the final part of the year, AILA SA has not slowed down.

In September, as part of the Young Professionals program, Enzo Belperio, barrister at Bar Chambers, presented Conclaves and hot tubs.

AILA SA also was proud to host an event as part of the Dive In Festival for the second consecutive year. Kimberley Jonsson, from CHU Underwriting Agencies, presented about her experiences of diversity and inclusion, how placing those issues at the centre of your business helped benefit your innovation goals, the business case for diversity and inclusion in workplaces, and how to be a diversity ally. Thanks to CHU Underwriting Agencies and Gallagher Bassett for their support of the event.

The Geoff Masel Lecture was scheduled for November and another YP social event in conjunction with YIPs SA.

The annual Year in Review breakfast briefing and SA AGM are scheduled for December. Mark Livesey QC will present on significant cases from the past 12 months.

A sincere and heartfelt thanks to Barrie Datson who retires from the SA committee at the end of the year after more than 23 years of voluntary service. Even after Barrie  called time on his professional career and retired in 2015, he remained involved with AILA SA acting as treasurer for the last four years.

AILA SA will miss Barrie’s tenacity and passion in the way he approached his AILA commitments. For those reasons and more, Barrie was awarded AILA life membership at the national conference, a fitting way to recognise such a wonderful contribution to the industry.


Western Australia

By Rebecca Pember

The WA AILA committee has welcomed two new members – Joel Speldewinde, from Wotton + Kearney, and Ellie McGrory, from Hall & Wilcox.

Joel was the WA winner of the Ron Shorter Memorial Award for 2019, following a fantastic finals night on 15 August, and he presented at the National Conference on his topic, FIFO and pure mental harm claims: Future fears and new perspectives.

At the conference gala dinner, Stephen Williams, of Kott Gunning, was awarded life membership, a very deserving win by a past committee member and lifelong friend of AILA. Stephen’s contributions to the association have continued despite his retirement from the committee at the end of 2018.

A social function on 4 October at Tiny’s bar in the Perth CBD was well attended and a huge success. Thank you to major sponsors Next Health and WorkFocus, and the door prize sponsor, KBE Legal Hub.

AILA WA’s AGM was on 4 December as part of the final seminar for the year, the Geoff Masel Lecture – Insurance: Facing a change of era.

Thank you to members and friends who have supported AILA WA this year by attending or sponsoring events.


Back to top

Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.