Willkie Expands Insurance Practice with Addition of Four Prominent Partners in California and New York

April 29, 2021

New York, NY (April 29, 2021) --- Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP today announced that Kara Baysinger, Stephanie Duchene, Matthew Gaul and David Heales have joined the Firm as partners in the Insurance Transactional and Regulatory Practice. Ms. Baysinger is based in Willkie’s office in San Francisco, and Ms. Duchene is based in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mr. Gaul and Mr. Heales are based in Willkie’s New York office. The team joins from Mayer Brown, where Ms. Baysinger served as co-leader of the US Insurance Regulatory and Enforcement Group, Ms. Duchene and Mr. Gaul were partners, and Mr. Heales was an associate. Ms. Baysinger will serve as Co-Chair of Willkie’s Insurance Regulatory Group along with New York partner Allison Tam.

A nationally top-ranked insurance lawyer, Ms. Baysinger has vast experience representing national and international insurance and reinsurance companies, insurance-related service companies, insurtech companies and technology companies on a wide array of insurance regulatory, compliance and strategic matters. She also advises clients on regulatory investigations and examinations (including multi-state examinations), innovation and digital transformation, licensing, transactional and M&A matters, reinsurance, cybersecurity, market conduct, sales practices, and product and market development issues. Ms. Baysinger began her career working in-house for insurance companies, where she led compliance, market conduct, product development and government relations functions. She is also the co-author of “Courageous Counsel: Conversations with Women General Counsel in the Fortune 500,” which examines the paths of women into the ranks of General Counsel.

Ms. Duchene regularly counsels insurtech companies, traditional carriers and non-insurance entities on the intersection of insurance law and innovation in the industry. She represents insurance companies, producers and other insurance licensees and insurance-related service providers in complex regulatory matters, including significant single and multi-state market conduct and financial examinations and investigations, compliance with licensing, claims handling, marketing and advertising rules, and the development of new insurance products. Ms. Duchene advises clients on all lines of insurance, including accident, life and health, property and casualty, as well as surplus and excess lines.

Mr. Gaul advises insurance companies and other financial institutions on government investigations and complex regulatory matters, including the intersection of insurance regulation and technological innovation. He has extensive experience with market conduct examinations, financial services regulation reform, insurance product innovation, and related transactional matters. Before returning to private practice, Mr. Gaul served in various leadership positions in New York State government, including Deputy Superintendent for Life Insurance in the New York State Insurance Department (now the Department of Financial Services), and Chief of the Investor Protection Bureau in the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Mr. Heales focuses on corporate and commercial transactions in the insurance industry and general insurance regulatory matters. He regularly advises clients on the acquisition and disposition of insurance entities and blocks of insurance business, including through reinsurance. He also has extensive experience assisting insurtech companies, traditional carriers and non-insurance entities in complex program management, and managing general agent and distribution arrangements, as well as advising on a broad range of insurance regulatory matters.

“Our insurance practice is one of Willkie’s great strengths, with capabilities across the spectrum to serve the most sophisticated needs of clients in the industry,” said Firm Chairman Thomas Cerabino. “Kara, Stephanie, Matt and David are lawyers of the highest quality and reputation and will be a perfect complement to our practice. They will expand our regulatory offering and add to our capabilities in the burgeoning area of the intersection of technology and insurance.”

“Willkie’s market leading insurance practice and tech-focused growth on the West Coast are an ideal complement to our current work, our clients’ needs and our goals for the practice,” said Ms. Baysinger. “The Willkie platform will allow us to offer a very wide range of services and solutions to our clients, enabling us to continue to play a role in their continued success and growth. We look forward to working with our new colleagues, and collaborating on these exciting client matters, to achieve continued success for our clients.”

Willkie’s Insurance Transactional and Regulatory Practice is described as a “preeminent transactional practice specializing in complex M&A on behalf of the world's largest insurers and reinsurers,” in Chambers USA (2020). The group represents insurance companies, investment banks, sponsors and other financial institutions in transactions involving M&A, ILS, finance, excess reserves, longevity, de-risking and traditional capital markets; and provides advice on regulatory and tax matters involving insurers in the U.S., U.K., Lloyd’s, Europe and Bermuda. Our multidisciplinary team, ranked Band 1 by both Chambers and Legal 500, comprises over 30 partners and is among the largest in the United States.

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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is an international law firm of approximately 850 attorneys with offices in New York, Washington, Houston, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan and Rome. The Firm is headquartered in New York City at 787 Seventh Avenue.

Tel: 212.728.8000.