Fred Hawke has extensive legal and practical experience in insurance law, claims management and insurance company operations.

Before joining Clayton Utz, he was directly employed in the insurance industry for more than 20 years and was responsible for negotiating and settling insurance and reinsurance disputes involving some of Australia’s largest liability losses.

Since joining Clayton Utz 19 years ago, Fred has practised extensively in the field of insurance and reinsurance law, with special emphasis on regulatory and compliance issues, captive insurer arrangements, Bankers Bonds, crime and financial liability insurances, facultative and treaty reinsurance and retrocession arrangements. Trade credit and insolvency and political risk insurance are also areas in which he has had considerable experience, both in the insurance industry and in legal practice.

He is a well recognised and prolific writer and presenter on insurance law and insurance industry related legal matters and occasional lecturer in the Graduate Studies Program at Melbourne University. 

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Expertise

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Insurance and Risk

Fred has conducted extensive policy reviews, advised and acted in insurance disputes in all major classes of general and life insurance over a 40-year career in insurance law, 20 of them spent in the industry as an insurance company Claims Manager and General Counsel.

Government

Victorian Government – Department of Treasury and Finance: Fred provided detailed advice and recommendations in connection with:

  • Claims made insurance policies under the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth);
  • Proportionate liability legislation and the risk allocation provisions of major project contracts; and
  • Insurance provisions of Public Private Partnerships.

Financial services

ANZ Banking Group: Fred advises the client on various matters including captive insurance and reinsurance related matters, disputed claims, policy wording analysis and negotiation, and regulatory issues.  Fred has advised ANZ on numerous matters: Conducted successful major reinsurance claim litigation on behalf of the Bank, resulting in a recovery in excess of A$114 million from local and overseas reinsurers. 

  • Also acted for OnePath (ANZ Wealth) in the successful recovery of a substantial insurance payout in respect of settled liabilities of a superannuation trustee and its administration manager, toward participating employer members of a group life insurance and benefits managed investment facility, arising from incorrect allocation of contributions to investment settings.
  • Fred also advised and assisted ANZ  to de-register and wind up the remaining activities of its Australian-based captive insurance company, ANZcover

National Australia Bank: Fred has acted for and advised the client on professional indemnity claims, product development, lenders mortgage insurance and reinsurance matters.

UniSuper Ltd and UniSuper Management Ltd:  Fred advised and acted for this major industry superannuation trustee, in connection with a protracted and substantial insurance dispute arising out of a major systems upgrade.  Has also carried out Efficacy Reviews of UniSuper's Trustee Liability and related insurance programmes and assisted the Manger and its insurance brokers with the negotiation of more favourable terms of coverage.

REST Superannuation:  Fred has conducted Efficacy Reviews of the Trustee's and Manager's insurance programmes, for Trustees' Liability, Professional Indemnity, Directors' and Officers' Liability and Crime cover, and advised in connection with actual and potential claims under those contracts.

Corporate insurance

Orica Group Ltd: Fred advises and acts for the company and its Singapore captive insurer on captive insurance and reinsurance-related matters, product liability, ISR and marine claims, regulatory matters, political risk and alternative risk transfer. Fred has conducted successful Admiralty litigation on behalf of the insured against overseas marine charterers liability insurers, resulting in a substantial recovery. He has also carried out an extensive restructuring of the Group's insurance arrangements, by portfolio transfer under Division 3A of Part III of the Insurance Act, coupled with a complex novation of offshore reinsurance and retrocession contracts.

Product development and distribution

Commonwealth Bank of Australia: Fred has conducted specialised insurance product development and negotiation on Political Risk insurance-related matters.

TRUenergy Ltd: Fred has advised and acted for the company in connection with a substantial material damage and business interruption claim under its ISR insurance, arising from the flooding of its open cut coal mine.

Insurance and reinsurance industry

AIA Australia Limited: Fred has advised this major Australian life insurer in connection with regulatory, compliance and product development issues. He has also advised and acted for it in the Australian aspects of the global restructuring of the AIA and related life insurance business, by AIG Inc.

Regulatory issues

Progressive Direct: Fred acts for and advises a leading US specialist motor vehicle insurer, in relation to regulatory, compliance, product-development matters and portfolio transfer.

See Insurance and Risk 

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

ANZ Banking Group: Fred has conducted successful major reinsurance claim litigation for the bank, resulting in a recovery in excess of A$114 million from local and overseas reinsurers.

Orica Group Limited: Fred has conducted successful Admiralty litigation on behalf of the insured against overseas marine charterers liability insurers, resulting in a substantial recovery.

OnePath (ANZ Wealth): Fred acted for OnePath in the successful recovery of a substantial insurance payout in respect of settled liabilities of a superannuation trustee and its administration manager, toward participating employer members of a group life insurance and benefits managed investment facility, arising from incorrect allocation of contributions to investment settings.

Idameneo (No. 789) Limited:  Fred advised Idameneo (No. 789) Limited. in relation to its entitlements under its Excess Liability (Workers Compensation) Reinsurance Policy. 

Transurban Citylink litigation: Fred advised and acted for one of the project professional indemnity insurers in litigation over issues involving the Burnley Tunnel.

TRUenergy Ltd: Fred has advised and acted for the company in connection with a substantial material damage and business interruption claim under its ISR insurance, arising from the flooding of its open cut coal mine.

During his time as an Insurance Claims Manager:

Ash Wednesday bushfires: Fred was extensively involved in major insurance claim litigation and dispute resolution arising out of the bushfire losses.

Product Liability class actions: Fred was extensively involved in resolving class actions involving breast implants, intra-uterine devices and other products.

Corporate collapses:  Fred was extensively involved in the negotiation and settlement of multiple large insurance and reinsurance claims arising from the collapse of companies, including:

  • Estate Mortgage
  • Spedley
  • Bond Corporation
  • Linter Group
  • Tricontinental
  • State Bank of S.A

See Litigation and Dispute Resolution

International Trade

Fred has extensive experience in negotiating, drafting and settling the terms of political risk insurance for offshore projects and operations as detailed below.

Orica Group Ltd: Fred advises and acts for the company and its Singapore captive insurer on captive insurance and reinsurance-related matters, product liability, ISR and marine claims, regulatory matters, political risk and alternative risk transfer. Fred has conducted successful Admiralty litigation on behalf of the insured against overseas marine charterers liability insurers, resulting in a substantial recovery. He has also carried out an extensive restructuring of the Group's insurance arrangements, by portfolio transfer under Division 3A of Part III of the Insurance Act, coupled with a complex novation of offshore reinsurance and retrocession contracts.

See International Trade

Government Services

Fred has extensive experience advising Government clients on the insurance provisions and procurement of major infrastructure and development projects as outlined below. 

Victorian Government – Department of Treasury and Finance: Fred provided detailed advice and recommendations in connection with:

  • Claims made insurance policies under the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth);
  • Proportionate liability legislation and the risk allocation provisions of major project contracts; and
  • Insurance provisions of Public Private Partnerships. 

Hydro-Electric Corporation of Tasmania: Fred has conducted specialised insurance reviews of a number of the Corporation's policies and has advised in connection with its insurance procurement and the insurance aspects of several of its major projects. 

See Government Services

Knowledge

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