Veteran first-chair trial counsel handles high-value insurance and reinsurance litigation and arbitration, and complex transactional matters
In a significant addition to its leading insurance and reinsurance practice, Stroock welcomes Huhnsik Chung as a partner in the firm’s New York office. He arrives from Baker McKenzie, where he chaired the North America Insurance practice. Joining Mr. Chung is an associate, Nicholas Secara, also from Baker McKenzie.
Mr. Chung represents insurance-industry clients in complex, high-stakes disputes in domestic and international arbitrations and judicial proceedings. He has served as lead counsel in more than 70 such actions in the U.S. and abroad.
He also provides regulatory, licensing and structuring advice on matters such as insure-tech start-ups, captives, M&A, insurance-linked securities, wrap-up insurance and new product development. He handles the insurance component of M&A and regulatory matters and is regularly retained to resolve business of insurance disputes.
In the FinTech space, Mr. Chung has also been at the forefront of blockchain development and deployment in his representation of accelerators, exchanges and sponsors of initial coin offerings in offshore jurisdictions.
Fluent in Korean, Mr. Chung also maintains close ties with South Korean-focused companies and assists Korean clients in business and insurance matters globally.
At Stroock he joins a top insurance litigation team representing national and multinational insurers and reinsurers in a wide range of matters, including high-exposure reinsurance matters, complex coverage and bad faith disputes and consumer class actions. Stroock’s reinsurance representations span such diverse areas as life reinsurance; natural catastrophes; asbestos and environmental; aviation; financial guarantee; workers’ compensation; broker negligence and MGA disputes. The team’s complex insurance coverage expertise include CGL, excess/umbrella, professional liability, workers’ compensation, D&O and commercial property lines, among others. The firm’s trial and appellate attorneys have litigated substantial, high-exposure cases in state and federal courts and before arbitration panels across the country.
The Insurance Group, co-led by Robert Lewin and Michele Jacobson, also executes important transactional work, including insurance-industry M&A and sophisticated reinsurance transactions as well as regulatory matters. Late last year, a large Stroock deal team represented a consortium of investors led by Atlas Merchant Capital in the $2.05 billion acquisition of Talcott Resolution, the run-off life insurance and annuity division of The Hartford. The firm had previously advised on a $963 million acquisition of The Hartford’s variable annuity business in Japan.
Alan Klinger, Stroock’s co-managing partner, said: “Our insurance practice has always been powered by the triple threat of highly proficient litigation, transactional and regulatory teams. Through their work at the center of some of the most important and contentious recent litigation and arbitration cases, Stroock lawyers have earned a reputation for excellence. Huhnsik fits right in with that heritage, and we are happy to add him to our team.”
Mr. Lewin noted: “Clients know and respect the knowledge and skillset Huhnsik brings to any matter. His successful representations for a significant number of clients are a testament to his capabilities. He is a great addition to our practice.”
Mr. Chung said, “With a world-class group of litigators and transactional attorneys, Stroock has been a go-to firm for insurance industry players, particularly those with complex cases that can change the shape and destiny of companies. Joining Stroock is a welcome step and I look forward to growing my practice with my new colleagues.”
Mr. Chung received his J.D. from Cornell Law School and B.A. from Cornell University.
Tänak wins easily in the Arctic as Rovanperä grabs early title lead
Finn becomes youngest ever WRC leader with Belgian Neuville back in third.
Ott Tänak sealed a dominant start-to-finish victory at Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox on Sunday afternoon.
The Estonian was never seriously challenged during the three-day encounter in Lapland’s frozen forests. He built a comfortable lead during the first two legs and eased through the finale to win the FIA World Rally Championship’s second round by 17.5sec.
Home hero Kalle Rovanperä fended off a charging Thierry Neuville to claim the best result of his career in second. At just 20 years old, he became the youngest driver to lead the WRC in the championship’s 49-year history. Neuville finished 2.3sec adrift in third.
Tänak won five of the 10 snow and ice speed tests in his Hyundai i20. Apart from a brush with a snowbank on Saturday, he avoided trouble on superfast roads near Rovaniemi to kick-start his title bid after retiring from the season-opener in Monte-Carlo.
“The pressure was there and we knew it was going to be very complicated to take the fight,” he said. “In the end we did a very good weekend, with only one mistake. It’s an amazing place, definitely one of the best places to have a winter rally.”
Rovanperä, starting just his ninth top-level rally, began the final day with a 1.8sec buffer to Neuville. He extended it by a tenth in the first of two passes through the 22.47km Aittajärvi test, before winning the final Wolf Power Stage to retain his grip on second.
The Toyota Yaris driver moved four points clear of Neuville at the top of the standings, relegating world champion Sébastien Ogier who had a disappointing weekend. The Frenchman finished 20th after burying his Yaris into a snow drift.
Neuville’s third place provided a double podium for Hyundai Motorsport, which reduced Toyota Gazoo Racing’s manufacturers’ championship lead to 11 points.
Craig Breen finished fourth in another i20 after a four-rally absence. Tyre management was crucial and the Irishman fell back on Saturday as he struggled for grip on deteriorating roads after ending the opening day in second. He was 52.6sec adrift of Tänak.
Breen kept Elfyn Evans at bay in the final test after the Welshman closed to within 3.6sec in the penultimate stage. The final gap between them was 8.9sec. Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta rounded off the top six in another Yaris.
Tributes were made on the podium to Finnish rally great Hannu Mikkola. The 1983 world champion and three-time runner-up died on Friday and the Finnish Air Force led the accolades with an F18 Hornet flypast.
The WRC moves to the asphalt Croatia Rally for round three, which is based in Zagreb on April 22-25.
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 2hr 03min 49.6sec
2. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota Yaris +17.5sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 +19.8sec
4. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Hyundai i20 +52.6sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota Yaris +1min 01.5sec
6. T Katsuta / D Barritt JAP Toyota Yaris +1min 37.8sec
FIA World Rally Championship (after round 2 of 12)
1. K Rovanperä 39pts
2. T Neuville 35
3. S Ogier 31
4. E Evans 31
5. O Tänak 27
Euro zone factories buzzing in February as demand soars
By Jonathan Cable
LONDON (Reuters) – Euro zone factory activity raced along in February thanks to soaring demand, a survey showed on Monday, although the burst of business led to a shortage of raw materials and a spike in input costs.
Restrictions imposed across the continent to try to quell the spread of the coronavirus have shuttered vast swathes of the bloc’s dominant services industry, meaning it has fallen to manufacturers to support the economy.
IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to a three-year high of 57.9 in February from January’s 54.8, ahead of the initial 57.7 “flash” estimate and one of the highest readings in the survey’s 20-year history.
An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due on Wednesday that is seen as a good guide to economic health, climbed to 57.6 from 54.6, well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
“Manufacturing is appearing as an increasingly bright spot in the euro zone’s economy so far this year,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
“The solid manufacturing expansion is clearly helping to offset ongoing virus-related weakness in many consumer-facing sectors, alleviating the impact of recent lockdown measures in many countries and helping to limit the overall pace of economic contraction.”
A Reuters poll last month showed the bloc was in a double dip recession and that the economy would contract 0.8% this quarter after shrinking 6.9% in 2020 on an annual basis. [ECILT/EU]
Rocketing demand for manufactured goods pushed factories to increase staffing levels for the first time in nearly two years.
But lockdown measures disrupted supply chains and factories struggled to obtain raw materials, leading to a big increase in delivery times.
“The growth spurt has brought its own problems, however, with demand for inputs not yet being met by supply. Shipping delays and shortages of materials are being widely reported, and led to near-record supply chain delays,” Williamson said.
Those shortages allowed suppliers to hike their prices at the fastest rate in almost a decade. The input prices PMI bounced to 73.9 from 68.3.
(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Strong exports lift German factory activity to three-year high in February – PMI
BERLIN (Reuters) – Higher demand from China, the United States and Europe drove growth in German factory activity to its highest level in more than three years in February, brightening the outlook for Europe’s largest economy, a survey showed on Monday.
IHS Markit’s Final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, jumped to 60.7 from 57.1 in January.
It was the highest reading since January 2018 and came in slightly better than the initial “flash” figure of 60.6.
Factories have been humming along during the pandemic on higher foreign demand, helping the German economy avoid a contraction in the last quarter of 2020 and offsetting a drop in consumer spending amid a partial lockdown to contain COVID-19.
Many manufacturers reported higher demand from Asia, especially China, as well as the United States and European countries, with export sales posting their biggest increase since December 2017, the survey showed.
Phil Smith, Principal Economist at IHS Markit, said supply chain pressures intensified as more firms reported delays than ever before in nearly 25 years of data collection.
“There looks to be further upward pressure on inflation in the German economy from supply bottlenecks and a subsequent surge in manufacturing input costs,” Smith noted.
The survey suggested that supply disruption is making it more difficult to replenish stocks, which could complicate production in the coming months, he cautioned.
“Nevertheless, the overriding sentiment for the longer-term outlook is optimism, with a record number of manufacturers expecting to see output rise over the next 12 months.”
Still, economists expect the economy to shrink in the first quarter of this year due to a stricter lockdown, which has shut most shops and services since mid-December, and freezing temperatures that slowed construction activity in February.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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