Stuart Hardy & Michelle McCullough take up senior FOIL positions

10 Nov 2021

Stuart Hardy, Partner at BLM, has been elected President of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) as the industry looks ahead to a year of recovery from pandemic-related business interruption and other key issues affecting the industry. Michelle McCullough, Belfast Partner has also been appointed as Chair of FOIL Northern Ireland.

Over the next year, FOIL will continue to work closely with its members, recognising the critical role they play in advising their insurance-sector business clients as we transition out of the pandemic. The culture of business life remains in the spotlight, with increasing responsibility being placed on businesses to respond to political and social priorities. There is now a radically increased emphasis on corporate conduct and the insurance sector has a great opportunity to use its wide range of influences to change behaviour.

FOIL will continue to act as a voice for positive reform, and will work with the insurance sector to understand the new challenges and opportunities it faces in this time of transition.

Stuart has nearly 25 years of experience in motor, EL and PL litigation, with a focus on serious and complex injuries and involving claims of a technical nature and cross jurisdictional issues. Insurance litigation specialist Michelle has been a FOIL NI representative for the last six years.

Commenting on his appointment, Stuart said:

“It is an honour to take up the position of FOIL President. At a time of change and transition for the insurance industry and other sectors, there are challenges ahead but also great opportunities and I look forward to working with my colleagues to support our insurance clients and the wider industry through this change.

“My 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. My focus will be on continuing along that path and helping to support the FOIL agenda through into 2022 and beyond.

“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.”

Commenting on Stuart’s appointment, FOIL CEO Laurence Besemer said:

“A proactive agenda for positive change has always been our priority. Stuart has been a key part of FOIL for some time and understands our evolving focus very well. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that we will finish 2022 in an exceptionally strong position.

“Climate change, the post-pandemic transition for businesses and diversity in the workplace are all examples of highly complex issues which everybody is grappling with perhaps not for the first time but certainly with a far greater sense of urgency now. This means that proper, well-considered and effective reform is more important than ever before. Equally as important is the role that industry organisations like FOIL play in bringing multiple firms and experts together to help solve these challenges.”

Earlier this year BLM EDI Steering Group member and Partner, Paula Jefferson was appointed to join a new Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Board set up by FOIL. According to FOIL, the ESG Board has been created with three key objectives in mind: to help FOIL members create the right culture and values for a modern law firm; to align with the insurance industry’s culture and values; and to help relationships between member law firms and their instructing principals according to modern standards. Click here to find out more.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to clients of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

Related contacts

Stuart Hardy

Stuart Hardy


Michelle McCullough

Michelle McCullough


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