Property & Industrial Special Risk

When it comes to the law, finely woven details count. This is particularly true in the complex nature of the areas of Property Damage and Industrial Special Risk (ISR). The specific nature of this area requires advisors who bring a different perspective to the table.

Within our broader insurance team lies a small group of lawyers with extensive experience advising in this highly specialised area. Our Property Damage and ISR team handles all manner of building and construction projects, defending major property damage losses arising out of contract works.  Their successes include:

Property Damage

  • A claim raising questions about defects in the design of grain storage silos.  The claim included issues of proportionate liability, recovery from a US manufacturer, and trade practices issues including merchantable quality and fitness for purpose.
  • A claim against the manufacturer of a metal insert used in the construction of tension bridges in Korea.  Catastrophic failure was noted in a number of bridges during construction and the claims were promptly resolved.
  • Defending the insurer’s interests in a major claim involving the failure of a semi-autogenous gold ball mill causing huge consequential financial losses and involving complex questions about equitable contribution, the application of the Insurance Contracts Act to foreign policies of insurance, and issues of policy construction.
  • A claim against a construction company engaged in the demolition and reconstruction of commercial premises on a major arterial road.  Adjoining premises collapsed into the excavation and onto the major arterial road.  Claims were made by surrounding building owners and tenants (including a national supermarket and bottle shop chain) for property damage, loss of rent and business interruption.

Industrial Special Risk

  • Acting for the ISR underwriters of an open cut mining operation in the Hunter Valley following floods.  Close consideration was given to whether subsidence of land underneath a railway could be excluded and whether flooding of the open pit constituted damage to property.  A “land, water and air exclusion” was also considered.
  • A claim by a telecommunications company in relation to the application of the “Electronic Data Exclusion” in the context of a number of incidents where transmissions were interrupted leading to significant business interruption.
  • A claim in relation to policy sub-limits and their application to theft or loss of significant quantities of artworks.
  • A claim under a Comprehensive Commercial Crime /Fidelity policy in relation to a fidelity claim exceeding $15 million following a series of transactions which occurred over many years.
  • Advising underwriters under a Fidelity Guarantee Broadform policy following fraud by an employee which took place over 6 different policy periods.
  • Advising underwriters in relation to multiple thefts, fire and deliberate destruction of equipment in relation to a large sign manufacturing business and significant business interruption.

Our senior team members include:

Yasmin Bell

Senior Associate
B Science (Forensic) (University of Newcastle) 2001, LLB (University of Newcastle) 2004

Julie Bowker

Senior Associate
Practical Legal Training (College of Law, Sydney) 2014 / Diploma in Law (University of Sydney) 2014 / Diploma in Law (College of Law, Chester, UK) 1990 / BSc (Hons) (Marine Biology and Applied Zoology) (Bangor University, North Wales, UK) 1988

Paul Garnon

B.Com (Finance) (University of NSW) 1991 / LLB (University of NSW) 1991

Kiley Hodges

BA (University of New England) 1998 / LLB (Hons) (University of New England) 1998

Heidi Hopkins

Senior Associate
Bachelor of Laws (Macquarie University) 2007 / Bachelor of Arts (Macquarie University) 2007 / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law 2008

Craig Hyde

Special Counsel
LLB (Hons) (University of Otago) 1990

Scott Kennedy

Managing Partner
Dip Law (LPAB) 1995

Sally Morshead

Senior Associate
LLB (Bond University) 2005

Brian Trist

Special Counsel
Dip Law (LPAB) 1998


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