Gemma is an experienced insurance lawyer, 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 claims. She advises domestic and international primary and excess layer insurers on policy coverage, defends complex litigation and proactively manages a range of recovery actions.
Gemma has undertaken 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 management liability 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.
D&O/Professional Indemnity/Management Liability
- Providing coverage advice and acting as monitoring counsel in respect of a number of high-profile D&O claims including ASIC Investigations, ICAC investigations and Class Actions.
- Acting as defence counsel (on appointment by D&O insurers) with respect to a number of high profile and complex litigated claims against corporations and directors and officers.
- Acting as defence counsel in relation to liability claims against a range of professions including the construction industry, insurance brokers, legal professionals and financial planners.
- Providing coverage advice and acting as defence counsel in relation to a variety of management liability claims.
Gemma provides professional indemnity and liability/property damage policy coverage advice and acts as defence counsel with respect to a range of complex construction claims including claims against architects and engineers, developers, builders, geotechnical engineers and environmental consultants. Some examples are:
- Acting in defence of 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 arising from a pipeline collapse.
- 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.
Gemma also advises on coverage under environmental liability and general liability policies and acts as defence counsel in respect to a range of environmental 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.
- 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.
- Drafting, reviewing and amending a variety of new professional indemnity and liability policy wordings for a range of domestic insurers.
Awards and recognition
Best Lawyers in Australia 2023 & 2024Recognised – Insurance Law
Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2022 & 2023Leading Professional Indemnity Law
- Women in Insurance
Insurance | 25 Aug 2023
In latest judgment regarding solicitors’ negligence, the Supreme Court of New South Wales has handed down its decision in Boyded Industries Pty Ltd v Bluth & Ors.