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FOIL appoints DWF Partner as New President


FOIL appoints DWF Partner as New President

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Nicola Critchley, Partner at DWF, has been elected President of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL), taking over from Stuart Hardy, Partner at BLM Law.   

Nicola sits on FOIL’s Costs SFT and was also Treasurer of FOIL, and has worked with insurers and self-insureds for more than 20 years.  Her strategic focus is on civil justice reform.  

Despite the cautious optimism seen in some quarters following the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the departure from the EU, we are now in a fresh period of upheaval and uncertainty: from geopolitical instability in Ukraine and the Taiwan strait to energy supply challenges through to a new UK Government and recent disruption in the financial markets.  Nicola’s appointment comes amidst considerable political and business uncertainty, and at a time when insurers and insurance lawyers must focus on thought leadership, and finding more adaptable ways of doing business. 

FOIL acknowledges that the one of the themes is the significant civil justice reform in a climate of considerable economic and uncertainty- with a government demonstrably committed to diverging from the legal landscape that we inherited from our historic membership of the EU, it must find new solutions and ways of working.  FOIL as an organisation is able to bring together the combined experience of its 8000 members to inform its thinking and develop innovative and pragmatic legal ideas and proposals to do just this, and under Nicola’s direction, will help support the wider insurance industry on the most pressing issues of the next year. 

FOIL also puts a major focus on ESG and D&I.  Its members will support the insurance industry as the sector transitions to sustainable underwriting, investment and purchasing practices.  FOIL will also work collaboratively to develop plans to bring member firms’ net carbon output to at least zero, with an ambition of a net negative by 2030.  And lastly, it will continue the work of the FOIL ESG Board to consider how changes will affect service suppliers and purchasers and how members can strengthen relationships with clients through responsible corporate behaviours. 

Peter Allchorne, Partner at DAC Beachcroft will take up the position of Vice-President of FOIL, supporting Nicola on all of the organisation’s activities. 

Commenting on her appointment, Nicola said:

“I am very much looking forward to steering FOIL over the next year, helping the organisation to support our member firms and, in turn, their own clients.

In 2022, we have rather gone from ‘great expectations’ to ‘uncertain times’. Globally, we managed to recover well from the pandemic only to be met with new challenges.  My presidency will focus on helping our member firms to solve the most pressing problems for their clients, and making sure that we as an organisation are providing the fresh thinking that the sector needs if it is to weather the coming storm.

As we look to solve these sizeable challenges, it is also vital that we do not lose sight of our pre-existing commitments on the environment, social issues, and governance.  I will ensure that our organisation, and its member firms, continue to honour their commitments as set out in the Climate Charter FOIL signed in 2021, and continue to give ESG issues our full attention.”

Commenting on Nicola’s appointment, FOIL CEO Laurence Besemer said:

“Nicola is a long-standing member of FOIL’s Executive Committee, and is the perfect candidate to head up the organisation as we move into what will no doubt be a particularly challenging 2023.

One of FOIL’s real strengths has always been its ability to look behind the headlines, and using the combined experience of its members to develop innovative ideas and proposals. With so much change happening so quickly, more than ever decisions for the future need to be grounded in analysis and evidence: a clear view of what is working and should be retained, and what needs further change.  Nicola, alongside myself and others on the Executive Committee, will make sure this evidence-based approach remains a key tenet of the organisation over next year and beyond.”

Content provided by FOIL (Forum of Insurance Lawyers)