Devonshire Underwriting

Spotlight On: Contingent Risks

Spotlight On: Contingent Risks

The last few years have seen a shift in legal contingent risk insurance. There’s an improved quality and quantity of products, and Devonshire is well placed to be at the forefront of the market, writes Charles Turnham, Partner, Devonshire Underwriting

What trends are you currently seeing in contingent risk insurance and how is capacity appetite developing?

It’s an exciting time for contingent risk insurance, which is the youngest of our products. The last two to three years has seen Underwriters and Brokers investing in talented specialists with litigation backgrounds that have come from other parts of industry, who have really developed and evolved contingent solutions to align with modern challenges and requirements. There’s been a lot more creative and granular thinking around the product. So, to my mind, expert resourcing has been a key factor in the improvements made as, in the past, products would have been developed with something of a one size fits all approach, and lacked a bespoke and progressive lens.  

Over the past decade, the concept of contingent risk insurance has evolved from a narrow focus on litigation-based risks (sometimes referred to as “Judgment Preservation Insurance”) to encompass a broader spectrum of risks, including M&A-driven opportunities, insolvency scenarios, and capital protection structures.

How do you see your own contingent insurance product developing to meet client demand?

Devonshire is, I believe, very well placed to be responsive and innovative with our approach to this complex class. James Dodd (Founder, Devonshire Underwriting) and I are very experienced in this area, having seen the market evolve over many years, and we are positioning Devonshire at the forefront, pushing the horizon forward for this product line. Our approach is to assess each situation on merit, rather than labelling it in predefined categories. There are, of course, certain predetermined considerations to make (for example, we will need to be satisfied as to the legal risk analysis, the applicable governing law and forum, and the commercial alignment between Insured and Insurers), but we want to be flexible in our thinking. By doing so, we can tailor our solutions to the unique needs of each client, ensuring that we address specific risks with precision and creativity. This flexibility allows us to stay ahead of emerging trends and continuously refine our strategies to meet the evolving demands of the market and the nature of contingent risk. We believe that the product has particular potential to be more widely applied to address issues arising in M&A and restructuring-driven scenarios.

What are the biggest challenges in the European contingent market, and how are insurers responding to the evolving risk landscape?

Often there can be a process challenge here. The market has faced a scenario where the products are complex and assessing insurability hasn’t been straightforward – it often requires a significant time commitment upfront from all parties to appropriately assess and price risks. We’re well placed to meet that head on. Devonshire has an agile structure and we’ll pivot to the opportunity if we see it, and can harness our collective experience and insight to assess each risk on an independent basis.  

We’ve seen recent adverse litigation developments in the US on insured deals that will provide an ongoing challenge to underwriters and brokers in the space, but our view remains that with careful risk selection and strong underwriting discipline, there’s very significant potential for these products. By maintaining rigorous underwriting standards and leveraging our deep industry knowledge, we can effectively navigate these challenges and capitalise on emerging opportunities. Our disciplined approach ensures that we thoroughly assess risks, make informed risk-selection decisions, and continue to provide valuable and highly relevant solutions to our clients.

What is the state of play with M&A in the market at present?

The wider M&A market is choppy at the moment and, with general elections in various countries around the world taking place soon, there’s cautiousness, though there are some signs of tentative increase in pace and we’re slowly seeing some bigger deals emerging. 

As the summer progresses we’ll have a clearer view on how the remainder of the year will play out. 

Contingent insurance products are a natural hedge for M&A as they can de-risk M&A processes and release trapped assets. In some ways they’re M&A agnostic. As political and economic uncertainties begin to settle, the role of contingent insurance in providing stability and confidence in M&A transactions will become even more crucial. We anticipate that with a clearer political landscape, there will be renewed vigour in deal-making activities, further highlighting the importance of robust contingent solutions in mitigating risks and ensuring smooth transactions.

What would be your call to action to the market?

We see this product as being at an exciting stage. Similar to Tax, it provides protection against a known legal risk. We’ve seen impressive growth over the last 10 years, and we think the product can be used in a variety of different ways. My call to action is simple: to sustain profitable growth in this evolving and complex class, it is essential to maintain strong underwriting discipline and adopt a bespoke approach to risks. This market demands experienced underwriting partners who can offer tailored solutions that can address unique challenges and opportunities effectively. By rigorously assessing each situation and customising our strategies, we can continue to drive innovation and deliver exceptional value to our clients.



Experienced Underwriters Launch MGA Devonshire Specialising in Transactional Risk Solutions

Press Release 

London: 2 April, 2024 

Devonshire UW Limited, and its affiliate Devonshire UW Europe GmbH (together, “Devonshire Underwriting”), a Managing General Agent (“MGA”) specialising in underwriting transactional risk (“TR”) solutions, has announced its market launch today.

Focused on positively disrupting the TR insurance market, the MGA will be led by four experienced founders and partners – Natasha Attray, James Dodd, James Fletcher and Charles Turnham – who are highly-respected specialists in this sector with a collective 30 years of transactional liability underwriting experience as well as over 15 years of professional experience in law and tax.

The company, which is backed by Lloyd’s and a strong panel of A-rated insurance capacity providers, will provide intelligent, sophisticated solutions for large legal risk deals for brokers, corporates, private equity firms, professional advisers and other specialist investors. Devonshire’s products comprise Warranty & Indemnity (W&I), Tax and Contingency Insurance, with a particular focus on a streamlined, responsive underwriting process that embraces creativity and best-in-class service.

Headquartered in London, Devonshire will underwrite transactions in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, Australasia and beyond. The company is able to deploy an automatic per-risk line size of up to EUR 35,000,000 pursuant to the terms of the delegated authority from its insurance partners.

Devonshire has received the backing of B.P. Marsh & Partners PLC, the specialist private equity investor in early stage financial services business. B.P. Marsh has a strong track record of supporting insurance intermediaries such Devonshire in achieving their growth aspirations. 

Dan Topping, Chief Investment Officer of B.P. Marsh, commenting on this investment, said: “We are pleased to be making this investment in Devonshire, founded by an experienced team of specialists. We are looking forward to working with the team, to enable Devonshire to deliver on their business plan over the coming years”.

Natasha Attray, Partner, Devonshire, said: “We are incredibly proud to launch Devonshire and believe we will distinguish ourselves through our collective blend of experience and technical expertise with over 30 years of experience in this market. We believe that our proven execution capability and entrepreneurial approach will allow us to offer our clients and brokers an exciting and fresh source of TR solutions.”

James Dodd, Partner, Devonshire, added: “Our aspiration is to be a market-leading, trusted TR underwriter focusing on challenging legal risks, respected for our deep expertise and execution record, and valued as a key strategic partner for our brokers and clients. Through our agile structure, experience and subject-matter expertise, we believe that we are ideally placed to deliver reliable, responsive solutions for the most demanding TR insurance requirements.”

James Fletcher, Partner, Devonshire, said: “There is strong momentum in the TR market as a result of many years of resilient M&A activity and a significant upward trajectory in the use of TR products. We are seeing a clear demand for a fresh approach to underwriting and bespoke service as the TR market and the applications of the products continue to evolve. We have strong relationships with brokers across all major jurisdictions and the team incorporates all of the key professional disciplines required for strong underwriting performance within W&I, Tax and Contingency.

Charles Turnham, Partner, Devonshire, added: “At the heart of our business is our ability to demonstrate a responsive, pragmatic approach to broker and client management, policy negotiations and deal timetables which are often extremely tight. This is particularly important in the fast-paced TR market where swift and efficient decision-making is crucial to ensure effective and positive outcomes for brokers and clients. We are particularly excited to be working in partnership with our investor B.P. Marsh and our insurers.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors:

About Devonshire

Devonshire is a Managing General Agent (“MGA”) specialising in underwriting transactional risk (“TR”) (or transactional liability) insurance products, operating in the UK and underwriting transactions in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, Australasia and beyond.

Devonshire was founded in 2024 by four experts in the TR underwriting sector, bringing together over 30 years of experience.

For more information please visit the website:

Or Company LinkedIn Page

The Founders

Natasha AttrayNatasha is a qualified tax practitioner who joined the M&A insurance market in 2018 and has over five years of experience underwriting bespoke tax specific products as well as tax issues within W&I deals. Before underwriting tax risks, she worked in the M&A tax team at KPMG in London advising on tax matters across a diverse range of sectors.

James Dodd: James is a qualified lawyer who trained and qualified with a number of leading US firms in London, including Weil and Shearman & Sterling. He has over seven years’ experience of underwriting W&I and Specific Contingency risk exposures with particular expertise in major cross-border transactions and high-value emerging markets deals.

James Fletcher: James is one of the most experienced W&I underwriters in the market, having over 12 years experience underwriting W&I risks. He has led many major W&I insurance placements with particular expertise in real estate, energy and infrastructure risks.

Charles Turnham: Charles has over eight years’ experience of underwriting W&I and Specific Contingency risks and has led many major insurance placements for both products. Prior to entering the transactional risk insurance market, he worked as an M&A lawyer for two major City firms.

PR Contacts

Helen Wright
Lysander PR
07842 729 579



Cutting through the noise: Transactional Risk Market Outlook 2024

The M&A landscape in 2024 is expected to make more noise after a relatively quiet 2023, driven by several key factors. These include potential stability in interest rates, pent-up demand, and industry-specific pressures to consolidate or divest, particularly with private equity firms anticipated to re-enter the market due to improved debt market conditions and the prospect of more favourable exit strategies. 

This is a welcome contrast to 2023, which was marked by subdued activity, influenced by tepid economic growth, inflationary pressures, and cautious lending practices. The repercussions of these dynamics were evident over the last year, with a notable decline in both the frequency and value of transactions compared with previous years. 

Positive indicators
The more positive macroeconomic indicators shaping the start of 2024 are playing a pivotal role in influencing investor sentiment and the appetite for strategic transactions. Additionally, the global economic outlook is showing tentative signs of recovery, instilling greater confidence among stakeholders and an anticipated rebound in deal-making as interest rates stabilise.

The technology sector, especially areas such as AI, automation and decision intelligence platforms, may witness increased activity, although caution and hurdles such as antitrust scrutiny persist. Overall, while challenges remain, greater economic clarity and the end of rate hikes could fuel global M&A growth in the coming year.

From a regulatory standpoint, impending changes, particularly in regions such as the UK and Ireland, are expected to catalyse M&A activity. The looming prospect of regulatory shifts, including potential amendments to capital gains tax rates, has spurred a sense of urgency among business leaders, prompting them to expedite their M&A plans to capitalise on current favourable conditions.

From an insurance perspective, underwriting demand is also evolving in line with the changing dynamics of the M&A, legal, tax and regulatory landscape. In a complex risk segment, we are seeing strong demand from clients to work with teams that have extensive experience in underwriting complex legal and tax risks, and that are able to provide tailored solutions that address the intricacies of M&A transactions with precision.

A commitment to excellence
At the core of Devonshire’s approach lies a commitment to technical excellence, innovation and product relevance. Our underwriting process is characterised by meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of the nuances inherent in TR insurance. Leveraging a comprehensive suite of products, including Warranty & Indemnity (W&I) Insurance, Tax Insurance, and Contingency Insurance, we offer clients bespoke solutions that mitigate risks and help to reduce friction in transaction processes.

Warranty & Indemnity (W&I) Insurance, a cornerstone of Devonshire’s offerings, serves to safeguard M&A deals by providing coverage for warranties and indemnities given in transactions. Our agile underwriting structure allows us to address a broad spectrum of risks across various jurisdictions and sectors, offering flexibility and strategic insights to our clients.

Tax Insurance, another critical component of our portfolio, enables clients to secure known tax liabilities, thereby enhancing the viability of transactions and providing balance sheet certainty in an often ambiguous regulatory landscape. Through streamlined negotiations and proactive risk management strategies, we empower clients to navigate the complexities of tax-related risks with confidence.

Contingency Insurance, the third pillar of our product suite, offers comprehensive coverage for legal risks identified whether as part of a transaction process or otherwise, ranging from litigation risk to insolvency scenarios. Our team’s proven expertise in structuring creative solutions enables us to address a wide range of legal challenges, facilitate deals, protect legal assets and mitigate potential liabilities.

As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond – and in a market where differentiation and relevance are key – our team is committed to standing as trusted partners, assisting our clients through the intricacies of M&A transactions and legal uncertainty with commitment and expertise. 

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Embracing Innovation: Devonshire Underwriting’s Culture and Values

Every transaction tells a unique story, and the team at Devonshire Underwriting are proud to emerge as committed partners in the global transactional risk market. Our story is one of proven expertise, dynamism, and innovation in an industry that demands nothing less.

Agility and Proactivity
At Devonshire, agility and proactivity are not just buzzwords; they’re the cornerstone of our approach. In a fast-paced environment where transactions evolve rapidly, we pride ourselves on our ability to act and adapt swiftly and decisively. Our streamlined and responsive process ensures that we deliver solutions with unmatched speed and precision.

Expertise in Complex Risks
Our team comprises seasoned underwriters with over 30 years of combined experience in handling the most challenging transactional, legal, and tax risks. We thrive on complexity, leveraging our ingenuity, strategic focus and entrepreneurial approach to provide bespoke solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs.

Warranty & Indemnity (W&I) Insurance
Facilitating and safeguarding M&A deals is at the heart of what we do with W&I Insurance. Our comprehensive coverage not only removes key negotiation points from a transaction process but also provides financial certainty for both buyers and sellers. With a broad appetite for opportunities across various sectors and jurisdictions, Devonshire is advantageously positioned to offer flexible and differentiated solutions for even the most demanding risks.

Tax Insurance
Amid increasing regulatory scrutiny and in some cases ambiguity, our Specific Tax Insurance provides much-needed certainty for ongoing operations, group restructurings, and M&A deals. By streamlining negotiations and eliminating exposure to identified tax risks, we empower our clients to navigate complex tax landscapes with confidence and certainty.

Contingency Insurance
Contingency Insurance is where creativity meets protection. From litigation risk to insolvency scenarios, our bespoke solutions address a wide range of legal challenges, facilitating seamless M&A transactions and beyond. With a strategic focus on leading and supporting product development, Devonshire is committed to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in risk underwriting.

Global Reach, Local Expertise
With our headquarters in the heart of London, Devonshire Underwriting transcends geographical boundaries to underwrite transactions across the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, Australasia, and beyond. Our extensive network ensures that wherever our clients operate, they have access to world-class service and support.

Innovation, agility, expertise—these aren’t just jargon at Devonshire Underwriting; they’re the principles that are embedded in our DNA and guide us every day. As we continue to evolve and adapt to meet the evolving needs of our clients, one thing remains constant: our unwavering commitment to excellence and integrity in everything we do.

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