UK: 1st Annual MENA Financial Lines Symposium 2016

Last Updated: 1 February 2017
Article by Mark Beswetherick

We have drawn together some of the key issues discussed during the Symposium below which we hope you will find of interest.

The morning of the Symposium was devoted to looking at professional liability, construction and cyber issues, and opened with a snapshot of the global landscape for professional liability risks from Simon Konsta, professional liability specialist in London, and Clyde & Co's senior partner. Simon discussed that professional services firms are facing new forms of unpredictability and disruptors which will present a host of new challenges for insurers to grapple with, including how standards of skill and care will be judged, and client expectations managed as use of technology and AI develops. At the same time, there are a number of developing themes shaping the PI claims environment, including: (i) the development of class actions globally; (ii) growth of litigation funding and the likelihood of its increased use for professional liability claims; (iii) how the globalisation of firms is shaping the map of PI losses; (iv) the movement of regulatory pressures up the agenda; and (v) the role of professionals as gatekeepers of good corporate behaviour.

A panel of MENA professional liability specialists,  Clyde & Co Partner Mark Beswetherick, Liberty's Nicky Stokes and Simon Bell from Marsh considered the challenges and opportunities across the MENA region. The panel discussed that there is an ongoing need for customer education in the market, which remains price driven, and challenges presented by a mismatch between European derived wordings and local liability regimes. Construction PI currently dominate the picture in the region, although developments are likely in the FIPI market, driven in part by an influx of more sophisticated companies into the DIFC, and Technology E&O is also seen as an area for growth.

The construction PI market, which has recently seen the role of construction professionals being thrust into the spotlight as a result of the Qatari floods and Dubai tower fires, was the focus of the panel chaired by Partner Alfred Thornton, joined by underwriters Annemieke Clancy from AIG and James Cross from Zurich. The panel discussed whether the market is facing a "perfect storm". The panel opened with a discussion of how economic conditions, and in particular the price of oil, are impacting the regional construction market, and changes in the way construction projects are financed, with a move towards PPP. The bear market conditions, and the dominance of price considerations over scope of cover, was identified as presenting challenges to underwriters, as was the long-tail nature of the liabilities involved. The pre-dominance of SPPI in the region, as opposed to annual policies, was recognised as a defining feature of the local market. The panel considered that going forward, risk selection and carefully drawn exclusions will be critical for underwriters writing construction PI covers. Education of the market was also recognised as being important, particularly as liabilities have the potential to significantly exceed limits.

The role of risk management strategies in avoiding professional liability claims was tackled by Clyde & Co's Michael Morris and Thomas Herd,  a key issue being the extent to which liability limitations, exclusions and caps will permitted and upheld in the region. Given the high level of litigation risk in the UAE, a core issue for the market is whether choice of law and jurisdiction clauses will be upheld. Arbitration clauses (if properly drafted) and clauses specifying DIFC law and jurisdiction were more likely to be respected by local courts in the region than clauses opting for foreign jurisdiction or governing law.

Clyde & Co's Shabnam Karim, in discussion with Clydes Partner James Cooper, Aisling Malone from AIG and Scott Davies from Aon,  drew the morning to a close on the highly topical question of how the Cyber liability and Tech PI market is developing in the region. The panel looked at some recent incidents across the Middle East and globally, and that the cover requirements are no longer intellectual property driven, with increasing incidences of property damage. Targets for cyber-attack have expanded out from financial institutions to all types of organisations. The panel agreed that cyber security is now a board room issue, and that D&O claims were to be expected in the future, the US Wyndhams action being an example. Although no notification requirements exist in the DIFC/UAE, experience from other jurisdictions has shown the vast costs that can ensue from a data breach. Key underwriting considerations include getting adequate information from insureds, and industry wide concerns about the potential for aggregation risk across multiple business lines.

The afternoon session focussed on Financial Institutions, BBB, Crime and D&O insurance, and opened with a panel of Clydes specialists Ned Kirk (New York), James Cooper (London), and Ian Roberts (Singapore) chaired by Mark Beswetherick looking at global trends in D&O insurance coverage. With the increase in regulatory investigations and actions in the US, a key issue is when dishonest act and conduct exclusions will bite (and in particular the status of admissions and what amounts to a final adjudication),  and in what circumstances insurers can and will seek a recoupment of defence costs. Continuous cover clauses, a relatively new concept in the Middle East, are much more common in Asia, and the panel talked through how these clauses operate, their interrelationship with other parts of the policy and some grey areas, drawing upon the recent UK decision in Arc Capital v Brit. Investigations are on the rise in the MENA region and across the UK, US and Asia, as are the costs of those investigations, and the panel looked at policy triggers, noting that there has been a shift in both the UK and US towards less formal methods of investigation, with US cover now extending to pre-investigation costs.  As wordings broaden, professional services exclusions, intended to delineate the boundaries between PI and D&O cover have come increasingly under the spotlight, and the panel discussed their experiences of these clauses, with reference to the Australian St Kilda Road decision. The panel later returned to look at liability issues, with bribery and corruption a key issue in the MENA region, impacted by the long arm reach of US and UK legislation, with the latter having a better toolkit with the introduction, relatively recently, of the Bribery Act and deferred prosecution agreements. The US SEC and the DOJ are actively pursuing FCPA cases globally, and investigations can be long and costly. Asia too, is seeing an increasing incidence of sophisticated frauds. Individual accountability, a regulatory focus in the Middle East, mirrors the trend elsewhere, with the Yates Memo in the US, focussed upon targeting and holding individuals to account, and the UK's Senior Managers Regime being just two examples. MAS in Singapore showed its teeth following the price-fixing of SIBOR by disqualifying 133 traders. Collective actions, currently not a feature of the landscape in MENA, are gathering a head of steam in the UK, with a number of shareholder claims on foot, and rumours that the new opt-out regime, introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, will be utilised to bring claims related to Forex manipulation. The UK position is, of course, nowhere near the scale of class actions seen in the US where the likelihood of actions against public companies is higher than ever, and foreign companies are increasingly targeted.    

The current state of the Middle East D&O market was debated by panellists Mark Beswetherick, Alex Blom, AIG, James Johnson, Willis and Tim Tovel, DP World. The panel discussed that increasing regulatory activity in the financial hubs, new company and insolvency laws, and business activity becoming increasingly global all pointed towards an uptake in demand for D&O cover and that the volume of notifications and claims activity is increasing. The panel focused on some of the larger D&O liability claims taking place in the region, as well as change in legislation, such as the new UAE Companies Law which has an impact for Directors in the UAE. The session also drew on the impact of regulatory changes in other jurisdictions and how regulators in this region, such as the DFSA are adopting similar approaches, with an increased focus on management responsibility.

Shabnam Karim alongside panellists, Neil Daws of Lockton, Rajul Gohil of Talbot and Andrew Jacob of Charles Taylor Adjusting drew the day to a close looking at the question of whether BBB and crime wordings are fit for purpose. The panel's overriding view was that developing methods of cyber and electronic crime such as social engineering, ransom-ware and cyber extortion meant that crime policies were being tested in ways that had never been envisaged when the wordings were developed, an example being the KFA81 wording, which was drafted long before the sophisticated (and specifically computer based) frauds currently troubling the market were developed.

The event was the first of its kind in the region and demonstrates the breadth of knowledge and expertise of Clyde & Co's leading financial lines team, both regionally and globally. We would like to thank all the participants and attendees of the event who contributed to making it a real success and a special thanks to the panellists who travelled internationally to participate in the event.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions