James Grennan, Partner - A&L Goodbody

James Grennan

James Grennan is a Partner in the Corporate Department and Head of A&L Goodbody’s Insurance Group. From 1995 to 1999 James managed A&L Goodbody’s London office.

His area of particular expertise is the insurance industry. His practice embraces all aspects of insurance law and regulation including the set up and authorisation of insurers, ongoing regulation, the provision of cross-border services, sale and purchase of insurance companies and insurance businesses, captive insurance, authorisation and regulation of insurance intermediaries, contracts, regulatory investigations and enforcement actions and statutory compensation schemes. He advises life and non-life insurers, health insurers, reinsurers, captives and intermediaries.

He played a major role in the A&L Goodbody legal team that advised the Irish Government’s Department of Finance on the establishment of the Irish Financial Regulator. He was also instrumental in having Irish law amended to facilitate the operations of life assurers in the International Financial Services Centre and in drafting other legislation to address insurance industry concerns. He has advised on many of the most significant insurance transactions and developments in recent decades.


  • XL Group on a wide range of matters including: the first combined portfolio transfer and cross-border merger conducted in Ireland, migration of its New York Stock Exchange listed holding company to and from Ireland, the US $4bn acquisition of Catlin Group, the issuance of US$1bn of Solvency II-compliant subordinated debt and Brexit solution planning.
  • AIG Group on a wide range of matters including: transfer of its Irish business to AIG Europe Limited, the cross-border merger of its Irish holding company into a UK holding company and the transfer of general insurance business from Chartis Excess to a Chartis Bermuda insurer using an Irish High Court scheme of arrangement, a mechanism unprecedented in Ireland or the UK (this transaction was an important element of the Financial Times recognising A&L Goodbody as Ireland's most innovative law firm).
  • CNP Europe Life on an innovative longevity risk transfer arrangement with Coca-Cola involving a novel structure which he devised. 
  • Numerous insurers on portfolio transfers, restructuring and cross-border mergers, including complex transfers for Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland and Partner Reinsurance. 
  • Zurich Insurance Group on the centralisation of its European general insurance business on to an Ireland platform, disposal of non-core insurance businesses and supervision of the Irish general insurance “super-carrier”, Zurich Insurance.
  • Arch Capital Group on establishment, authorisation and regulation of reinsurance, mortgage insurance and insurance intermediary companies and on a number of group reorganisations.
  • Health Insurer VHI on raising Solvency I and Solvency II-compliant subordinated debt from a private source.
  • Numerous insurers including, Combined Insurance Company, ALICO Life International and Arch Reinsurance Europe in the defence of complex regulatory enforcement actions alleging violation of financial regulation requirements. 
  • Insurance industry representative bodies on numerous legal and regulatory issues including Insurance Ireland on a successful challenge to a proposed government levy on the insurance industry and drafting an amendment (accepted by the government) to legislation implementing gender equality legislation.
  • Three major insurance groups on conversion of their Irish operations to European companies (SEs).

Market Recommendations

  • "International Thought Leader in Insurance." (Who's Who Legal 2018)
  • "Absolutely superb...probably the leading lawyer in Dublin for corporate insurance, transactions and regulatory work. He is practical, pragmatic and has a good knowledge of the law." (Chambers Europe 2017)
  • "Very thoughtful and responsive attorney who can put things in context for us." (Chambers Europe 2016)
  • "Outstanding reputation in the Irish insurance market, with knowledge of regulatory matters and transactional work…excellent - extremely knowledgeable, completely available and very practical... one of the best insurance lawyers in the market." (Chambers Europe 2015)
  • Consistently ranked as the only Irish lawyer within the 10 "most highly regarded" individuals globally in insurance. (Who’s Who Legal)


  • BA, Trinity College Dublin, 1984
  • Solicitor, Law Society of Ireland, 1988

Professional activities

James is a member of the insurance regulatory sub committee of An Taoiseach’s (i.e. The Irish Prime Minister’s) International Financial Services Centre group. He is a member of the Business Advisory Panel of Insurance Ireland, a representative body for the insurance industry in Ireland, a former Irish national representative of the Union International des Advocates (International Association of Lawyers) and former President of the Mergers and Acquisitions Commission of that organisation. James is also an accredited Mediator.

James Grennan

Joined Firm: 1985

Partner Since: 1994

T: +353 1 649 2318

Email: James Grennan

Vcard: James Grennan

Consistently ranked as the only Irish lawyer within the 10

(Who's Who Legal)