By: 19 November 2020
FOIL elects Jennette Newman as president

Clyde & Co partner Jennette Newman is the new president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL).

Newman will lead the insurance lawyer and self-insured organisation body into a new era and operating environment ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She replaces Anthony Baker, partner at Plexus Law, as president. Baker steered FOIL through a year of significant change as the insurance sector was forced to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Stuart Hardy, partner at BLM, was elected as FOIL’s new vice president and will support Newman through the next year. 

At the top of the agenda for Newman is ensuring the insurance sector remains resilient to change, as it faces the climate emergency and its many physical, transition and liability risks, social inflation and its impact on balance sheet and market stresses, and Covid-19.

Newman has more than 20 years of legal experience in UK and international casualty claims, including coverage and monitoring advice and defence litigation and mediation.

She has played a crucial role in FOIL, having previously been president of London FOIL, the arm of the organisation supporting the Lloyd’s of London and (re)insurance markets.

Newman also plays an active role within the insurance sector and is currently chair of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Professional Standards Committee.

Commenting on her appointment, Newman said: “I am delighted to be appointed president of FOIL at a pivotal moment for the industry as the need for resilience in the face of change is more important than ever.”  

“Over the next year, customer focus is going to be key. The industry needs to embrace better communication and more efficient distribution by making smarter use of technology. Advanced tech will play an important role in helping build better relationships and alignments with customers’ needs. For this reason, improved protection of customer data needs to be a key industry priority.”

“As lawyers, this means we need to stand ready to support closer and more transparent interaction in the form of clearer wordings, better product descriptions and improved efficiency in claims processing in order to support the reputation of the industry and its role in the UK economy.”

“Now more than ever, we need the right people in the insurance and legal professions to manage the challenges we face. Given the unprecedented level of challenge and change 2021 is sure to bring, we need to attract people from other industries into the market—people who can bring experience and fresh perspectives. FOIL will also be looking into how best to support this.” 

FOIL chief executive Laurence Besemer said: “Jennette is well positioned to help lead FOIL through the next year by highlighting the industry’s resilience and adaptability. Her depth of experience and passion for promoting talent will help drive a much-needed transition within the sector to embrace greater transparency and social change.”

“Despite the challenges faced by everyone this year, FOIL has continued to evolve into an organisation offering a strong, independent voice for the whole industry. This year FOIL has launched three new commercial focuses looking at marine, environment and sports insurance issues, whilst FOIL Ireland and London FOIL continue to grow in size and influence.”