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01 October 2020

Kennedys snaps up insurance boutique to launch in Tel Aviv

UK insurance specialist takes on four-partner practice to offer local law advice

By Ben Rigby

Shutterstock

UK insurance specialist Kennedys has signed up four-partner Tel Aviv boutique Zelichov Ben-Dan & Co, making it one of the first international firms to offer local law advice in Israel.

The deal brings Kennedys' office count to 40 and builds on an association agreement originally struck in November 2018.

All fourteen staff will transfer to the firm with managing partner Zvika Zelichov taking charge of Kennedys Israel. 

The new office will specialise in insurance law and related dispute resolution instructions across all forms of liability work. It will handle sector-specific insurance claims in the property, construction, engineering, motor and medical fields alongside business disputes, including ICC and LCIA arbitrations and pandemic-related claims.

Ben Aram, head of Kennedys’ London-based Israel desk, said the association had been “very successful”, leading to client demand for greater integration.

He added: “Joining up with the Zelichov team, whom we have been working with closely for many years, offers great potential for developing our practice in the region further.”

Zelichov said the “fruitful association” had generated significant instructions for both parties.

The deal follows  the recent peace agreements between Israel, and the UAE and Bahrain, and reflects Israeli’s strong international links – it boasts the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies after the US and China.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas described Israel as “a natural marketplace for us”.

 “The Israeli insurance market is large and mature, with a number of domestic financial conglomerates,” he said. “Most large risks are reinsured overseas, often directly into London and the US.”

He added that the combined firm would also explore opportunities arising from the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE, where Kennedys has a presence in Dubai.

In June, Kennedys opened an office in San Francisco, its seventh in the US, after hiring four partners from Hinshaw & Culbertson. 

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