Melissa Plavsic

Special Counsel

Qualifications: LLB, BA (Hons)


Melissa is a specialist insurance lawyer with particular expertise in first-party insurance principles and indemnity disputes, fraud, construction, and property damage claims (both defendant and plaintiff).

Melissa is an accomplished advocate who regularly appears on behalf of clients at mediations, Directions Hearings and VCAT hearings.

Melissa is personable and an excellent communicator - she builds strong relationships with her clients and regularly provides training and seminars.

Melissa’s clients appreciate her responsiveness, her efficiency and her enthusiasm. Melissa is a proactive and determined litigator - she leaves no stone unturned in gathering evidence and she has an excellent track record in successfully defending unmeritorious claims at trial.


  • Advising a major Australian general insurer in relation to over 100 indemnity disputes, including preparing IDR and EDR responses on behalf of the insurer. The policies in question included construction, plumbing, business, industrial special risk, home, motor and travel insurance policies.
  • Successfully defending insurers in a number of litigated indemnity disputes in the Victorian courts, including the successful defence of fraudulent claims and subsequent awards of exemplary damages against offending parties.
  • Completed a 12 month secondment one day per fortnight with a major Australian general insurer, in which she provided advice and guidance to a property damage liability team.
  • Working with insurers in preparing briefs of evidence for Victoria Police in relation to fraudulent insurance claims involving organised crime syndicates.
  • Advising and acting on behalf of a home owner in a subrogated recovery action arising from a house fire caused by a defective heater. The case involved both negligence and breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and Melissa achieved nearly full recovery of the subrogated loss on behalf of her client.
  • Defending a litigated indemnity claim worth over $700,000. Melissa effectively managed the expectations of a highly-emotional self-represented claimant and settled the claim, on very favourable terms.
  • Acting for builders and plumbers in various claims brought in negligence and contract, and, under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and the Water Act 1989.
  • Running litigation for parties involved in construction and property damage disputes, including damage caused by water ingress, mould growth, slab heave, moisture and drainage issues.
  • Claims arising out of defective products, including building materials and various commercial goods and components. Preparing constituent documents and establishing corporate structures.
  • Successfully obtaining summary dismissal of Supreme Court proceedings in the matter of Ofli v RACV Insurance Services and IMA [2024] VSC 161.
  • Successfully defending insurers in indemnity disputes including and numerous property damage claims including successfully defending a County Court property damage claim and securing indemnity costs in favour of the insurer in Newberry & Ors v Scammell & Anor [2020] VCC 1997.
  • Running costs disputes before the Costs Court.
  • Advising clients in relation to privacy law claims and defending privacy breach claims before VCAT and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
  • Appearing at mediations and settlement conferences on behalf of insurers in various types of claims. Melissa recently settled a contested property damage claim against an insurer client for less than 2% of the plaintiff’s claim, saving her client hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential damages and legal fees.

Professional Membership

  • Member, Women in Insurance

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Insurance | 5 Mar 2021

Upholding insurers' right to subrogated recoveries: plan ahead or suffer the consequences!

Navigating subrogated recoveries when an insurer and insured retain a significant interest in the proceeds is always a tricky exercise.