James Grennan is a Partner in the Corporate and M&A practice 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.
Areas of Expertise
Insurance & Reinsurance/Regulatory Risk & Investigations/Corporate and M&A/White Collar Crime/Financial Regulation/Finance/Brexit/ IP Litigation/Companies Act 2014
- 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, including the migration of XL Insurance Company SE from the UK to Ireland and the related aspects of AXA's takeover of the XL Group.
- 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).
- Numerous UK and international insurers on Brexit planning and implementing Brexit plans, including establishment of new Irish insurers by BUPA, Berkshire Hathaway, The Standard Club and North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association, significant expansion of existing Irish operations of insurers including Prudential Assurance and Standard Life International to accommodate EU business previously written by UK affiliates, establishment of Irish branches by insurers wishing to target the Irish market after Brexit, establishment and authorisation of insurance intermediaries and Irish insurers on contingency plans in relation to the UK market.
- 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 Brexit solutions, including expanding its Irish insurance carrier to write the EU insurance business previously written by its UK carrier.
- 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, Arch Reinsurance Europe and Intesa San Paolo Life in the defense 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).
"James has the perfect mix of a deep knowledge of the law and a commercial and pragmatic approach to legal problems – always seeing the issue from the client’s perspective and finding a solution if there is one to be found." (Legal 500, Hall of Fame member 2020)
"One of the best all-round lawyers. He is exceptionally bright and gives sage, well-considered advice that is practical, commercial and expert on the law." (Chambers Europe 2020)
"Extremely knowledgeable, hugely experienced, very pragmatic and commercial, and very responsive as well." (Chambers Europe 2019)
"A market-leading expert with unparalleled knowledge...a heavy hitter in the insurance landscape." (Chambers Europe 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)
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.
- Solicitor, Law Society of Ireland
- BA, Trinity College Dublin