25 Feb 2021

Kennedys boosts Americas team with partner-level hires in Madrid, Philadelphia and Miami

Arrival of AXA XL's EMEA and Latin America head, Susana Martinez, latest of four hires

AXA XL’s EMEA and Latin America head, Susana Martinez, has joined Kennedys as a partner in Madrid hard on the heels of three other international partner hires for the UK firm  – in Philadelphia and Miami.

Martinez leaves AXA after nine years, having risen through the ranks of various senior claims management roles. The Spanish-qualified lawyer previously spent 11 years with legacy Davies Arnold Cooper – now DAC Beachcroft – in Madrid, where she is based.

Her primary focus will be to support Kennedy’s clients in the Latin American and the Caribbean regions, supporting local Iberian colleagues as required. Her expertise covers financial lines and cyber-claims – both hot-button issues for insurers, given the pandemic –and her experience handling coverage disputes as well as defending claims will be welcomed.

Her insurance and reinsurance background will also boost the firm’s capacity to handle an expected increase in disputes between policyholders and insurers across the financial sector. Her advisory contract drafting work for corporate insurers, ensuring wordings and policies reflect both local conditions and best practice, will build on her in-house nous, while her regulatory experience supplies reassurance. 

Martinez embraced her return to private practice and cited Kennedys’ “great platform” to work both across Europe and the wider LatAm region. 

Alex Guillamont, the firm’s LatAm regional head, said: “Susana has the perfect combination of skills, experience and knowledge to continue bringing the high quality of service our clients deserve.” Nick Thomas, Kennedys’ senior partner, said that Martinez’s regional focus and financial lines and cyber experience supported the January hires of partners Joshua Mooney and Sean Mahoney from local firm White and Williams in Philadelphia. 

Mooney has deep expertise in data privacy and cyber-insurance, especially in relation to regulatory and statutory duties affecting insurance companies and insuretech firms, as well as in cybersecurity. Mahoney, meanwhile, has nearly 20 years of experience in managing insurance disputes, principally as a commercial insurance coverage trial lawyer.  

Also in the US, Kennedys’ Miami office last month welcomed corporate insurance lawyer Eric Hiller as a partner, together with three associates, from Clyde & Co. Hiller is one of a handful of lawyers with both experience and local knowledge of the US Virgin Islands, having been admitted to practice in the territory a decade ago.

US managing partner Meg Catalano noted: “The Virgin Islands is a highly litigious and complex legal market, and having specialist expertise in this area will be highly beneficial to our clients.” 

Hillier’s arrival enables Kennedys to expand its Miami reach into USVI, complementing its associate offices in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Those offices and the Miami practice will also benefit from Martinez’s arrival, given her Spanish language skills, client awareness and regional insights. At the same time, her sectoral experience on financial lines dovetails with the Philadelphia arrivals.