The FOIL Structure

Lawrence Besemer

Laurence Besemer FCII

CEO

Bio

Laurence Besemer FCII

CEO

Direct dial: 07921 491426

Laurence is the CEO of FOIL a position he has held since 2009.

Working alongside the President and the Executive Committee, he is responsible for long term strategy and the infra structure of the organisation.

Laurence comments:

"With nearly 40 years' insurance claims experience, in the UK and overseas, I understand the industry and the pressures that claims managers and handlers face. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, Managing Director of C-Mas (Claims Management Advisory Services), non-executive Director of SX3 and of TopQuotes Insurance Brokers. I am a life-long Manchester United fan and am working hard to get my three young daughters versed in the benefits of being a red.”

Jennette Newman (Clyde & Co)

President

Bio

Jennette Newman (Clyde & Co)

President

Jennette joined Clyde & Co in May 2018. Prior to this she was the head of the London office and the head of the Lloyd’s and London market sector for BLM. She has over 20 years legal experience in international and UK casualty claims and coverage advice, defence litigation, policy advice and advisory support arising out of a broad range of circumstances, industry sectors, policyholders and risk carriers.

As well as overseeing the service delivery to many major insurers and corporates during her career she has specialised in dealing with high value sensitive, complex and multiparty bodily injury litigation and coverage disputes for insurers, reinsurers and risk carriers together with health and safety regulatory investigations and prosecutions against local authorities, housing associations, construction companies, retailers, leisure services providers, the care sector and other corporate bodies including with the directors.

She is chair of the CII Professional Standards Committee and a non-executive director on the CII board.

She is listed in Legal 500 and Chambers directories, with clients noting she "Goes above and beyond to deal with her client's issues in accordance with their wishes" (Chambers 2017).

Stuart Hardy (BLM)

Vice President

Bio

Stuart Hardy (BLM)

Vice President

Stuart specialises in defending major loss and catastrophic bodily injury claims with a particular expertise of claims involving policy coverage and arising out of the Uninsured and Untraced Drivers’ Agreement and those claims involving the charity and education sectors. Stuart works with a team of dedicated lawyers to deliver optimum outcomes, compromising claims promptly and economically where appropriate whilst having the ability to maintain a firm line where necessary. He has extensive experience of taking a lead role in strategic decisions and conducting JSMs and other forms of settlement negotiations. Stuart is one of BLM’s Lead Catastrophic Injury Lawyers, responsible with his other key stakeholder partners for the development of BLM’s national catastrophic team, and is a lead member of the Financial and Socio-Economic strategy group. He is also sits on the FOIL National Executive and is an editor of Binghams and Berrymans. As well as handling a full portfolio of large loss injury claims, Stuart is also responsible for the management and development of BLM key client relationships.

Anthony Baker

Anthony Baker (Plexus)

Immediate Past President

Bio

Anthony Baker (Plexus)

Immediate Past President

Anthony qualified as a Solicitor in 1997 and has over 20 years' experience in the Defendant Insurance market. Anthony is a Partner at Plexus Law heading the Leeds and Manchester offices and handles a full and varied caseload of Major Loss Regulatory and Casualty claims.

He advises Insurers and corporate clients on all types of Regulatory issues including HSE/EHO/CQC investigations, PACE interviews, Inquests and prosecutions. Anthony also handles Major Loss Casualty Claims and has a niche successful specialism in dealing with work related stress claims. He is instructed by a number of major corporate clients as the nominated Lawyer to deal with their stress claims and has successfully defended a number of such claims pleaded at over £10m.

Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners describe Anthony as: "Providing client care to an outstanding level", "particularly astute and thoughtful lawyer" and "Stands out as a beacon of calm and active efficiency".

Outside of work Anthony's time is taken with his 4 boys and their activities including football, cycling and skiing!

Stratos Gatzouris (Consultant - DWF)

Secretary

Bio

Stratos Gatzouris (Consultant - DWF)

Secretary

I have striven throughout my career to act in the best interests of my clients but also believe that I have a duty to work with colleagues and competitors to achieve a common goal for my specialised area, hence my role within FOIL. I am known for getting the job done and for going the extra mile. I strongly believe in showing professional courtesy to all including litigation opponents. I am a strong communicator and mentor.

I have also worked extensively with insurer clients to help develop counter-fraud strategies and continue to strive to maintain thought leadership in this area.

I have offered and provided consultancy services to insurers and law firms in a number of areas including insurance fraud, litigation, training, auditing and regulation.

I am presently working with the DWF Cat PI team on larger value claims and also advise on Section 57 fundamentally dishonest claims.

Nicola Critchley (DWF)

Treasurer

Bio

Nicola Critchley (DWF)

Treasurer

Nicola is a Partner and sits on the board at DWF. She has extensive litigation experience and heads up the costs team. The department deals with the full spectrum of costs litigation and has saved clients more than £3billion.

Nicola deals with high value costs litigation matters, costs budgeting appeals, fraud, technical challenges, QOCS, fixed costs issues and test litigation.

She chaired a Working Group which supported reform in the holiday sickness claims and is currently involved with the whiplash reforms on the whiplash sub-committee of the CPRC.

She also sits on the CJC and is a member of the FOIL Costs Special Interest Group and treasurer of the National Committee.

Shirley Denyer

Shirley Denyer (Shirley Denyer LLP)

Technical Director

Bio

Shirley Denyer (Shirley Denyer LLP)

Technical Director

A qualified solicitor with over 30 years’ experience working in London and the North West, Shirley has experience of handling a wide range of disputes, from Public Liability to Clinical Negligence, Commercial Litigation and Costs.

Through Shirley Denyer LLP, Shirley has been involved in FOIL since 2007, as a non-practising solicitor. She was appointed to the newly created position of Technical Director in 2016, taking on a role in developing FOIL’s strategy and focus. She has responsibility for all of FOIL’s technical publications and the work of the eighteen Sector Focus Teams. Working with the SFTs and the National Committee she also handles FOIL’s consultation responses.

Shirley is based in Manchester. Outside work, despite the weather, she gets outdoors as much as possible, playing tennis and cycling.

Sarah Higgs

Management Services Consultant

Geoff Owen

Technical Author

Bio

Geoff Owen

Technical Author

Geoff Owen qualified as a solicitor in 1978. During his career he was a partner in a number of national firms, acting exclusively for insurers in high value motor, employers’ liability and public liability claims. In 2005, Geoff semi-retired, gradually reducing his case load and moving into training and writing inhouse publications for a number of firms with which he was a consultant. He is now a consultant with Horwich Farrelly and in April 2019 he was appointed to the new role of FOIL’s Technical Author.

Since 2006, Geoff has lived and worked from home on the Costa Blanca in Spain.

Bruce Goodbrand (Clyde & Co)

Chair of FOIL Scotland

Bio

Bruce Goodbrand (Clyde & Co)

Chair of FOIL Scotland

Bruce is a partner in Clyde & Co's Edinburgh office. Originally he studied law in Edinburgh and then trained as a solicitor in Dundee from 1996 to 1998. Upon qualifying he started work with the then Simpson & Marwick Dundee office, before transferring to their Edinburgh office in 2001. He became a partner in Simpson & Marwick in 2009, prior to the firm joining forces with Clyde & Co in 2015.

Bruce has over 20 years of experience in general insurance work, specialising in complex personal injury claims. He deals with all aspects of EL, PL and motor cases. He also has an extensive background in regulatory work, having advised on numerous Fatal Accident Inquiries and Health & Safety prosecutions over the years. He presents frequently both within his own firm and externally on topics of professional interest. He is a well known and trusted figure in the Scottish market.

Kevin Shevlin (Murphy O'Rawe)

Chair of FOIL Northern Ireland

Kella Bowers (Forbes)

Lobby Officer

Bio

Kella Bowers (Forbes)

Lobby Officer

Kella is a Partner and Head of the Social Services and Abuse claims team at Forbes. She is also a member of the Abuse Claims Practice and Procedure FOIL Sector Focus Team.

Kella undertakes work nationally and has been personally involved in the child sexual exploitation work in two of the country’s largest and most controversial Child Sexual Exploitation claim groups.

Kella is also highly experienced in dealing with adult social care, human rights cases and inquests. She has worked previously with the National Association of Local Authority Risk Managers to produce a manual for the Management of Children’s Services Claims and was also involved with the Historic Abuse Litigation Forum. This group, along with the FOIL SFT, has been directly involved in creating and presenting a draft Pre-Action Protocol for Abuse work to the Civil Procedure Rules Committee.

Kella is recognised as a Leading Individual by Legal 500 and Recommended Lawyer by Chambers and Partners.

Nichola Evans (Ward Hadaway)

Law Society Representative

Bio

Nichola Evans (Ward Hadaway)

Law Society Representative

Nichola qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and is a partner at Browne Jacobson LLP in its Manchester office.

Nichola is a well-respected practitioner in Commercial litigation and heads up Browne Jacobson’s public sector and healthcare commercial disputes offering. Over the past five years Nichola has dealt with a number of Commercial Court trials together with four Court of Appeal matters and one case in the Supreme Court.

Nichola is FOIL’s representative on the Law Society Council and has been a Council Member for six years. She also sits on the Law Society Civil Litigation Committee. In both capacities Nichola is able to put FOIL’s views and ensure that their voice is heard when the Law Society prepares its responses to consultations.

Pete Allchorne (DAC Beachcroft)

Lobby Officer

Bio

Pete Allchorne (DAC Beachcroft)

Lobby Officer

Pete has over 20 years’ experience advising a broad range of insurance clients in respect of motor, employers’ liability and public liability claims, with a particular interest in the transport and logistics sector. He is responsible for managing the relationship with one of firm’s key insurance clients, and also works closely with the firm’s Gibraltar regulated clients.

Working with the firm’s Strategic Litigation Unit, Pete is a regular commentator and panellist on issues impacting the motor insurance market, including civil justice reform, the development of automated vehicle technologies and their impact on motor insurers. Pete leads the firm’s specialist interest group looking at the legal and insurance implications for connected and automated vehicles, and the wider Internet of Things, working closely with other members of the firm’s Legalign Global alliance.

Within the firm’s Claims Solutions Group, Pete is head of ‘Innovations Lab’, the research and development hub responsible for developing new innovative claims solutions to benefit our clients, where he works closely with the firm’s technology law team. He is also a member of the firm’s Business Improvement & Change function, which scrutinises and prioritises strategic projects and investment in digital solutions.

Pete has previously chaired FOIL’s Motor Sector Focus Team, during which time he was co-opted as a member of the Expert Audit and Peer Review sub-committee of MedCo.

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