Gemma Dehn

Partner

Qualifications: LLB

Industries

Practices

Gemma is an experienced insurance litigator, beginning her legal career as a construction/insurance lawyer in London then later re-qualifying to practice in Australia.

Gemma specialises in construction, financial lines and environmental product lines. She advises domestic and international insurers on a range of coverage issues and defends complex litigation and proactively manages a range of recovery actions.

Gemma has benefitted from undertaking two insurer secondments within the financial lines team of a major international insurer. During both secondments Gemma managed a variety of claims including multi-million-dollar financial institution class actions, significant fidelity losses, and a range of professional indemnity claims.

Gemma’s strengths are her variety and depth of experience, her ability to provide timely, technical and succinct advice, her understanding of the insurance industry and particularly the needs of claims advisors, and her natural affinity with people.

Experience

Construction

Gemma has acted as coverage, monitoring and defence counsel with respect to a range of complex construction claims including claims against architects and engineers, claims involving catastrophic failure or collapse of buildings and excavations. Some examples are:

  • Providing coverage advice and acting as defence counsel for a structural engineering entity in respect of a major multi-party set of proceedings arising from a catastrophic rivulet wall collapse during construction works.
  • Providing liability coverage advice and acting as defence counsel for a plumbing organisation, in relation to a multi-million dollar liability claim arising from a burst water pipe during construction of a major commercial premises in Sydney CBD.
  • Advising in respect of a major loss arising from the construction of a major overseas pipeline, running a multi-million dollar recovery action against a design sub-contractor as a result of the negligent calculation of loadings and advising with respect to four consecutive loss incidents at a large mining development in Western Australia.
  • Acting for primary layer contract works insurers in the defence of a $64 million litigated coverage dispute.
  • Providing coverage advice to lead professional indemnity insurers with respect to a construction claim made by the insured design and construct company arising from understrength building columns. Acting as defence counsel in respect to subrogated recovery proceedings.
  • Drafting, reviewing and amending a variety of new policy wordings for a range of domestic insurers.

Environment liability

Gemma also advises on coverage under environmental liability and general liability policies and acts as defence counsel in respect to a range of matters including;

  • an EPA Investigation of a port authority concerning a water pollution incident;
  • a claim for PFAS clean-up costs incurred by an insured landowner (advising in particular on whether PFAS was a ‘contaminant’ within the meaning of the policy wording);
  • proceedings commenced for a claim in excess of $7 million in relation to an environmental liability indemnity provided in a sale agreement for two large properties in Victoria and Queensland;
  • a leachate contamination incident in Darwin; and
  • claims against environmental consultants alleging their hazardous materials survey failed to identify asbestos containing materials or other contaminants.

Broker Negligence

Gemma has extensive experience in the broker negligence space and provides coverage advice and acts as defence counsel in respect to a number of professional indemnity claims against insurance brokers. Her experience includes defending a range of AFCA complaints and litigated matters.

Other

  • Providing coverage advice to the insurance and reinsurance sector and acting as monitoring counsel in respect of a number of high-profile Directors’ and Officers’ claims including ASIC Investigations, ICAC investigations and Class Actions.
  • Appointed by D&O insurers to act as defence counsel with respect to a number of high profile and complex litigated claims against corporations and directors and officers.
  • Bringing subrogated recovery actions with respect to a range of matters including property damage claims and construction losses.
  • Providing ISR coverage advice in relation to a number of property damage claims and also acting in associated recovery actions.

Awards and recognition

Best Lawyers in Australia 2023
Recognised – Insurance Law

Latest thinking

Corporate & Commercial | 10 Aug 2021

Relaxation of continuous disclosure laws to be made permanent

Directors of listed entities, and their insurers, are set to benefit from a relaxation of continuous disclosure laws, which are shortly to be made permanent under new legislation.