Pinsent Masons and Qatar International Court Plan Ground-Breaking Insurance Dispute Resolution Project

10 Sep 2012 | 02:19 pm | 2 min. read

Pinsent Masons, the international law firm, and the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) have embarked on a ground-breaking project to develop a specialist dispute resolution scheme for high-value insurance and reinsurance claims.

Preliminary proposals from Pinsent Masons and the QICDRC will be discussed by leading figures in the insurance and reinsurance industry at a series of roundtables in Dubai, Qatar, and London during September 2012.

Should the industry be attracted by the opportunity, the scheme will be the first of its kind in the Middle East and will help secure Qatar's status as the key hub in the region's fast-growing insurance market.

Nick Bradley, Partner at Pinsent Masons, says: "The availability of an effective, high quality and accessible dispute resolution mechanism is an essential ingredient in the development of an expanding and successful insurance and reinsurance market. The QICDRC scheme will be a key attraction to global insurers and reinsurers looking to conduct business there."

"Insurers need certainty when they operate in a market. They need to be able to predict accurately their liabilities, reserves, legal costs, and premiums. A dispute resolution scheme will provide the required certainty in dispute resolution that will accelerate the development of the insurance and reinsurance industry in Qatar."

Nick Bradley adds: "We are delighted that Pinsent Masons has been chosen by QICDRC to help develop this ground-breaking and exciting project."

The insurance industry in the Middle East is estimated to be worth US$15bn, with huge potential for growth in the infrastructure, energy, and personal insurance sectors. It is estimated that Qatar is home to around US$200bn worth of new infrastructure projects alone.

Qatar has recently embarked on the Qatar National Vision 2030, which will see huge investment in diversifying the economy beyond oil and gas revenues. The award of the 2022 World Cup has accelerated the project.

Robert Musgrove, Chief Executive of QICDRC, says: "As part of its commitment to supporting Qatar's economic development, and its commitment to developing the rule of law, the QICDRC is developing market focused dispute resolution products for key economic sectors."

"For many insurance firms, arbitration is the preferred option for resolving disputes. However, existing arbitration bodies are now affected by the same problems of cost, delay, uncertainty, and lack of expertise as the court systems they were designed to replace. This project allows us to start with a clean-sheet and build a dispute resolution process driven by the requirements of the insurance industry based on its own particular needs."

Robert Musgrove adds: "If the feasibility of the project is approved, the specialist insurance dispute resolution scheme will be established at the QICDRC where we provide access to independent, impartial, international judiciary of the highest standard and state of the art facilities. The scheme will not only cater for specific regional requirements but also position Qatar as a global hub for the insurance industry."

The proposed scheme will provide binding judgments or awards, judges and award-makers with experience of the highest-quality, choices of law to suit international insurers and reinsurers, and cutting-edge new technologies to reduce costs and time.

The QICDRC was established in 2009 and its current Chief Justice is Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. Lord Woolf will be succeeded in October 2012 by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the current President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Roundtables to discuss the proposed project will be taking place in Dubai on 9 September, Qatar on 16 September, and London on 20 September.

Roger Phillips, Legal Director at Pinsent Masons, says: "The roundtables will feature some of the leading figures of the international insurance and legal industries. Input from these roundtables will ensure that the scheme meets current and future international industry needs."

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