The term ‘commercial insurance’ means different things to different people (and different firms). At some firms, the term will be all-encompassing, covering everything from property damage to professional indemnity, while other commercial insurance teams will focus on a single strand of this vast practice area.
One of our clients has identified that their commercial insurance team deals with 16 different work types, with most of their solicitors handling matters relating to 3 of these. Not only does this approach guard them against standard fluctuations in work, but it also ensures that their commercial insurance lawyers have a varied and interesting caseload.
These work types include policy coverage/ policy interpretation, product liability, property damage, and subrogated recovery. Sometimes, professional indemnity might fall under the same umbrella, while other firms might view it as a different area altogether.
Commercial Insurance in the North West
In the North West, the key players in commercial insurance have remained unchanged for a number of years, with DWF, DAC Beachcroft, Kennedys, BLM, Clyde & Co, Mills & Reeve dominating.
However, in the last few years, firms like Knights and Ozon Law have threatened to disrupt the market. Since 2018, Knights has expanded its dispute resolution offering to include subrogated highway recovery claims along with property damage disputes more broadly.
Meanwhile, Ozon Solicitors, which has begun to do some work within the commercial insurance space, announced earlier this year that it was relocating their Spinningfields offices to leafy Altrincham. This move is likely to have been motivated by a desire to attract talented commercial insurance solicitors who are tired of commuting into Manchester city centre and looking for a chance to work in the South Manchester suburbs.
The state of the market
Because Commercial Insurance is not a particularly well-publicised legal practice area, in comparison to the ‘sexier’ specialisms of corporate or family, the market tends to be short of good candidates. This means that there are some exciting opportunities for commercial insurance solicitors and firms are jostling for the best lawyers that are looking to move.
However, the roles on offer aren’t available solely for those who specialise in the areas outlined above. At Realm, we’ve worked with a number of lawyers who have originally qualified into another practice area but have decided to make the lateral move into commercial insurance. We’ve recently made several placements where lawyers have decided to re-train from, for instance, personal injury or commercial litigation.
There are a number of common reasons behind this kind of move, one being that other areas don’t offer the same perceived longevity of commercial insurance. On the other hand, civil litigation lawyers might decide that they’d rather work in a more commercial area of litigation.
Are you looking for a new opportunity within Commercial Insurance?
Whether you’re an experienced commercial insurance lawyer or looking to retrain from another practice area, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for those looking to make a move.
At Realm, our commercial insurance specialist Joseph Shenton works with law firms across the North West recruiting commercial insurance solicitors at all levels.