European legal developments in 2010: Implications for P&C insurers

Swiss Re says insurance industry should be alert to US-style litigation trends in Europe.

In a new publication, Swiss Re claims experts Jimi Groom, Thomas Fausten and Christoph Schreib  analyse key legal trends observed throughout Europe during 2010. The authors focus their attention both on the expansion of collective redress in individual European states and on progress towards an EU-wide regime. The new European model, they say, will give greater emphasis to Alternative Dispute Resolution and be geared towards avoiding “US type abuses”.

The Swiss Re experts also draw attention to the impact of forum shopping, when a plaintiff or defendant has a choice of jurisdictions where a case can be heard, on the spread of collective redress in Europe. They point out that the jurisdiction in the Netherlands has proven especially attractive to plaintiffs and defendants – also from outside Europe – seeking a class action-friendly venue in the European Union. An example they describe is the “Vedior” case relating to losses suffered by investors following a late ad-hoc publication by the Vedior company. The class action involved American plaintiffs who, by way of forum shopping, sued outside their US home territory.

These and other legal developments in Europe, including liability arising from environmental damage and climate change, as well as the growth of litigation funding all warrant vigilance from insurers Swiss Re says.

Published 24 May 2011


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