The Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) has today elected Stuart Hardy (pictured), partner at BLM Law as its new president, as it looks ahead to a year of recovery after COVID-related business interruption and the other issues impacting the insurance ecosystem. Meanwhile, Nicola Critchley, partner at DWF Law, has been selected to become vice-president of FOIL and will work closely with Hardy throughout the year.
Hardy has almost 25 years of experience in motor, EL and PL litigation, focusing on serious and complex injuries and involving claims of a technical nature and cross-jurisdictional issues. He succeeds Jennette Newman of Clyde and Co., whose tenure saw her take on a range of challenges – including the Supreme Court’s judgment on business interruption, and the launch of the OIC small claims portal.
Commenting on his appointment, Hardy said it is an honour to take up the position and that, though the industry is facing a time of change and transition, he believes there are also great opportunities ahead. He said he looks forward to working with his colleagues to support insurance clients and the wider industry, and noted that his presidency will focus on “consolidation and evolution rather than ‘ripping up the sheet’ and trying to do something completely new.”
“My colleagues and predecessors in FOIL have done an excellent job of laying the groundwork and identifying the critical areas for reform,” he said. “My focus will be on continuing along that path and helping to support the FOIL agenda through into 2022 and beyond. Jennette has led FOIL brilliantly in what was a particularly testing year for the industry.
“I look forward to working closely with the National Executive, FOIL’s divisions across the UK and Ireland, and its SFTs to ensure that we continue to lead the way in driving the agenda and supporting FOIL members and the wider insurance sector.”
FOIL CEO Laurence Besemer highlighted that Hardy has been a “key part” of FOIL for some time and understands its evolving focus very well. He added that he does not doubt that under Hardy’s leadership, FOIL will finish 2022 in “an exceptionally strong position.”