Doors Opening for Insurance Lawyers in Australia
Dylan Morrison, Legal Search Consultant
With events such as the Banking Royal Commission, the summer bush fires, severe climate-related weather events, and of course COVID 19, the insurance sector has undoubtedly been thrown some curveballs in recent times. Despite these challenges, insurance and insurance litigation firms have continued to perform well across the sector in 2020, creating many new and interesting opportunities.
Current State of the Market
While Australian based operations are not subject to the ‘red tape’ around COVID 19 that is constraining some of the larger international firms, many national insurance firms have been hiring aggressively amid the pandemic, grasping every opportunity to add top-quality talent to their insurance teams – even if that means recruiting and on-boarding remotely. Despite economic turbulence in other sectors, the insurance market has continued to gain momentum in 2020 and acquiring new talent is front of mind for many of our clients within the insurance space.
It is worth noting that some of the larger, national-based insurance firms can also carry a global reach through various alliances and associations held with other market-leading insurance firms and companies abroad. These national based firms, who are not thought of as direct competitors to firms abroad, are more likely to be briefed on work for clients from firms outside of Australia, presenting lawyers with many new and interesting opportunities.
Across the board, we are seeing firms look to hire lawyers with insurance litigation experience within areas of Liability. Also, those with experience in professional indemnity insurance, directors and officers and financial lines have been particularly sought after.
This demand is largely due to the increased focus on the discourse of companies, risks associated with climate change and governance and systems all coming under closer examination. In addition to this, the real potential for an increase in class actions targeting corporates, financial institutions and government, has created new opportunities in the field of insurance litigation.
Cyber-Security and Data Protection – One to watch
While large-scale cyber breaches have exposed a real threat to organisational security, both internationally and within Australia, many organisations have become increasingly motivated to protect their intellectual property and data. The associated increase in investment being made across the economy, in the areas of cybersecurity and data protection has meant that many companies are looking to be guided by insurance lawyers for how best to manage and respond in the event of a breach, which in turn makes cyber security and data protection an exciting and rapidly growing area of insurance law. We anticipate there will be an increase in demand for this skillset amongst our major clients. Therefore, if you are a junior lawyer with an interest in this space and keen to specialise – there will be more and more opportunities coming to market.
Considerations for Junior Insurance Lawyers
For those in the early stages of their career, it is important to determine if you are currently working in a practice area that challenges and stimulates you, with a clear path for development. Remember, your ability to move between practice areas is much more fluid at the beginning of your career. If you are feeling disengaged by your current area of practice or are concerned about becoming overspecialised, it may be a good time to consider your options. Before exploring opportunities outside your current firm, you should look to express these concerns internally with your reporting partner or mentor.
If you are eager to understand more about current market conditions or opportunities within the insurance market, seek out the expertise of a specialist recruiter. Even if you aren’t looking to change roles right now, it never hurts to be aware of the market conditions or salary expectations (especially when approaching review). It can also be useful to have a source of unbiased opinion to help guide you in your career journey and develop your skills as a lawyer.
– Albert Einstein