The Forum of Insurance Lawyers has also appointed a new vice president, who will support the president in navigating sector-wide challenges such as climate change, social inflation and Covid-19
FOIL has elected Clyde and Co partner Jennette Newman as its new president, replacing Anthony Baker, partner at Plexus Law.
Baker has led FOIL for the past year.
Newman has more than 20 years of industry experience, specifically in UK and international casualty claims, including coverage and monitoring advice and defence litigation and mediation.
She is also not a stranger to FOIL - she has previously acted as president of London FOIL, the arm of the organisation supporting the Lloyd’s of London and (re)insurance markets. Furthermore, Newman currently works as the chair of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s professional standards committee too.
Stuart Hardy, partner at BLM, has been appointed as FOIL’s new vice president, to support Newman over the upcoming year.
FOIL chief executive Laurence Besemer believes Newman can help steer “much-needed transition” within the organisation.
He said: “Jennette is well positioned to help lead FOIL through the next year by highlighting the industry’s resilience and adaptability.
“Her depth of experience and passion for promoting talent will help drive a much-needed transition within the sector to embrace greater transparency and social change.”
For Newman, initiating change will involve attracting talent from other sectors, who can bring “experience and fresh perspectives”.
She continued: “I am delighted to be appointed president of FOIL at a pivotal moment for the industry as the need for resilience in the face of change is more important than ever.
“Over the next year, customer focus is going to be key. The industry needs to embrace better communication and more efficient distribution by making smarter use of technology. Advanced tech will play an important role in helping build better relationships and alignments with customers’ needs. For this reason, improved protection of customer data needs to be a key industry priority.
“As lawyers, this means we need to stand ready to support closer and more transparent interaction in the form of clearer wordings, better product descriptions and improved efficiency in claims processing in order to support the reputation of the industry and its role in the UK economy.
“Now more than ever, we need the right people in the insurance and legal professions to manage the challenges we face. Given the unprecedented level of challenge and change 2021 is sure to bring, we need to attract people from other industries into the market – people who can bring experience and fresh perspectives. FOIL will also be looking into how best to support this.”
The priority for Newman’s incoming agenda to ensure the insurance industry’s resilience in the face of challenges such as climate change, social inflation and the myriad of impacts arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
A “key line of work” for next year will also include “helping the sector build on its reputation as a vital part of the UK economy”.
Besemer added: “Despite the challenges faced by everyone this year, FOIL has continued to evolve into an organisation offering a strong, independent voice for the whole industry.
“This year FOIL has launched three new commercial focuses looking at marine, environment and sports insurance issues, whilst FOIL Ireland and London FOIL continue to grow in size and influence.”
FOIL is a member organisation for defendant lawyers and self-insured organisations.