Ian Marshall is a managing director at FTI Consulting and based in London. He specialises in insurance investigations, arbitration and litigation, insurance accounting expert work, and scheme of arrangement processes and Part VII expert and management roles. He has 40 years’ experience and has acted as an expert in numerous jurisdictions relating to matters such as mapping reinsurance structures, and reinsurance accounting and damage calculations.
YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER AS A CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO MOVE INTO THE REINSURANCE SPACE?
Once I qualified as a chartered accountant, I chose to move to Bermuda because I wanted to work in a warm weather location. Even back in 1979, the reinsurance sector dominated Bermuda’s economy, so it was a natural fit. I enjoyed the work’s unique challenges and stayed in the sector for the rest of my career, eventually moving to Los Angeles and then London.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT WORKING IN FORENSIC AND LITIGATION CONSULTING?
I am interested in the variations and complexities that give rise to disputes and situations requiring in-depth investigation. Another factor is the global nature of the reinsurance sector; the same base skills and knowledge have diverse applications without geographic limitations.
WHAT LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE IN HIGH-VALUE DISPUTES THAT CAN OFTEN RUN FOR SEVERAL YEARS?
High-value, long-running disputes have many varying aspects that provide numerous training opportunities for staff working under the expert’s direction. There’s a catch-22 situation for anyone who wishes to be an expert but doesn’t have the relevant experience because instructing lawyers prefer experts with a proven track record of giving evidence. These intensive matters can provide the opportunity for less experienced team members to break into the role by taking the lead on facets of the case.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE TO GIVE EVIDENCE AS AN EXPERT WITNESS IN ARBITRATIONS?
I have found there are two core qualities: one is communication, both written and verbal, and the other is being able to roll up your sleeves and delve into the details to identify and distil the important facts. Additionally, I believe it is critical for an expert to maintain independence. In recent times, there have been unfortunate cases where experts have not acted independently because either they based their opinions on instructions from counsel or they did not have the expertise they claimed.
WHAT INSIGHTS HAVE YOU GAINED INTO THE DIFFERING PRACTICES OF THE US AND UK WHEN GIVING EVIDENCE IN ARBITRAL PROCEEDINGS?
There are numerous differences, so I will just highlight two here. First, the US has a deposition process in which it is very important for the expert to maintain his opinions under cross-examination, and this process does not exist in the UK. Second, there is a difference in the way arbitration panels are constituted. In the UK, panels are independent and impartial, but in the US there is a tendency for arbitrators to be advocates for the party appointing them, meaning the chairman’s vote determines the outcome.
WHAT IMPACT HAS THE RECENT INCREASE IN WILDFIRES HAD ON THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
Wildfires caused an estimated $25 billion of insured losses in the past two years, resulting in capacity reductions and, inevitably, premium increases. In my view, it will become increasingly difficult to insure the utility companies’ wildfire exposures, absent change in the legal backdrop and the transmission technology.
HOW DO YOU SEE NEW TYPES OF TRANSACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE HIGH MAGNITUDE OF CLAIMS IN RECENT YEARS DEVELOPING IN THE FUTURE?
As compared to other types of loss, the wildfires have resulted in large potential subrogation recoveries. The by-product has been the development of a market to purchase these recoveries, which will take years to realise. The insolvency of one of the major California utility companies has created competing claims against limited assets and this, in turn, will trigger the realisation of subrogation recoveries being less certain.
LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
I am proudest to have been the special adviser to a commission of inquiry in Trinidad, investigating the failure of various financial services entities. The matter ran for about five years and required me to use experiences gained across my entire career. I worked directly with the Commissioner, a retired English High Court judge, and three QCs. And, of course, I was able to spend many weeks in the Caribbean, often escaping the UK winter.
Ian Marshall garners praise from sources around the world for his standout ability in high-stakes insurance and reinsurance issues. He is a “very, very clear and succinct” expert who “always performs extremely well” when testifying in insurance disputes, according to interviewees.
Mr Marshall has 40 years of international experience leading major projects relating to accounting, auditing and complex reinsurance transactions. He has acted as an expert in a variety of arbitrations and court cases in a number of jurisdictions relating to matters such as reinsurance accounting, timing of recognition of insurance revenue, damage calculations, premium reconstruction, mapping of loss flows and reconstruction of loss amounts subject to reinsurance programmes. He has directed a number of investigatory and due diligence cases relating to loss reserve adequacy, reliability of business plans and assumptions, and acted as special adviser in relation to insurance accounting and auditing to a commission of enquiry into the failure of certain insurance and financial services entities in the Caribbean. Mr Marshall is also heavily involved in solvent schemes of arrangement and Part VII business transfers, recently directing an innovative transaction approved by the Court in England. He is a chartered accountant, CPA and a chartered insurance practitioner.