Gemma Dehn

Special Counsel

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 financial lines, construction and environmental product lines. She acts for insurers on a range of coverage issues and with respect to dispute management and recoveries.

Gemma has benefitted from undertaking two insurer secondments within the financial lines team of a major international insurer. During both secondments, Gemma was responsible for a large senior claims portfolio and acted as mentor and advisor to team members. She managed a variety of claims including multi-million dollar financial institution class actions, significant fidelity losses, and a variety 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

  • Provided professional indemnity coverage advice and acted as defence counsel with respect to a claim arising from the collapse of a retaining wall during construction of a large commercial/residential project.
  • Provided construction liability coverage advice and acted as defence counsel with respect to a multi-million dollar liability claim arising from a burst water pipe during construction of a major commercial premises in Sydney CBD.
  • Advised 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.
  • Acted for contract works insurers in the defence of a $64 million construction insurance coverage dispute. Negotiated settlement of the dispute at mediation for a fraction of the sum claimed.
  • Provided coverage advice to lead construction PI insurer with respect to a construction claim made by the insured design and construct company arising from understrength building columns. Following confirmation of cover, acted as defence counsel in respect to subrogated recovery proceedings.
  • Drafted and reviewed a construction PI policy wording for a major insurer.

Environment

  • Advised on coverage and acted as defence counsel in respect to an EPA Investigation of a port authority concerning a water pollution incident.
  • Advised on coverage under an environmental liability policy in relation to a claim for PFAS clean-up costs incurred by an insured landowner. Advised in particular on whether PFAS was a ‘contaminant’ within the meaning of the policy wording.
  • Advised environmental liability insurers on coverage and acting as defence counsel for a major corporation in NSW 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.
  • Advised environmental liability insurers on coverage and acting for an advising the insured site owner in relation to a leachate contamination incident in Darwin
  • Advised on coverage under a general liability policy in respect to a claim against an environmental consultant, alleging its hazardous materials survey failed to identify asbestos containing materials.

Other

  • Provided coverage advice and acted as defence counsel in respect to a number of professional indemnity claims against insurance brokers.
  • Provided ISR coverage advice in relation to a number of property damage claims and also acted in associated recovery actions.
  • Provided legal advice to the insurance and reinsurance sector in respect of a number of high-profile Directors’ and Officers’ claims, ASIC Investigations and Class Actions.
  • Advised D&O insurers on coverage and acted as monitoring counsel with respect to a high profile ICAC investigation. The role involved managing and providing instructions to 7 different law firms, managing legal and other costs and advising on exposure and coverage.
  • Provided coverage advice in relation to an employee fidelity incident and acted in recovery proceedings against the former employee accused of the fidelity.
  • Acted in a recovery action with respect to a large fire sustained at a commercial premises.

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.