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Iona has extensive experience as a defendant insurance lawyer, primarily in the areas of public and product liability and statutory insurance. Aside from various periods working in plaintiff law firms very early in her career, Iona has almost exclusively worked in the insurance industry.
Iona graduated from the University of Technology Sydney in 2005 and obtained a Graduate Certificate of Legal Practice in 2006. Iona was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of NSW and High Court of Australia in 2006.
Iona joined HBA Legal in 2015 as a senior lawyer and public liability expert, having previously worked at a number of specialist insurance law firms in Sydney. Iona was promoted to partner in 2020.
Iona is a member of various industry organisations such as Women in Insurance (NSW), Women Lawyers Association and NSW Claims Discussion Group.
Areas of expertise
Since her admission in 2006 Iona has defended major, complex, multi-party, high value ($10 million+) and catastrophic claims in numerous jurisdictions. Her main areas of expertise are public liability, product liability, professional indemnity, property damage, statutory claims (CTP and workers compensation), recoveries, contractual and indemnity disputes. This includes managing both litigated and unlitigated claims and disputes, tribunal matters, fraudulent claims and highly sensitive public interest cases.
Iona has undertaken numerous periods of secondment with clients during the course of her career. Consequently, Iona has a unique and valuable insight into the claims management process and internal workings of insurance companies, third party claims administrators and large self insured corporates, having managed claims from initial notification with unrepresented claimants, right through to trial/hearing at first instance and on appeal.
Iona has significant trial, tribunal and Court experience having run numerous matters to hearing in the District Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in NSW, County Court of Victoria and Supreme Court of the ACT.
She currently represents and advises clients in a range of industries including retail, distribution, hospitality and recreational sectors. Iona acts for Australia’s largest insurers, London underwriters, retailers, shopping centres, supermarkets, real estate agents, hospitality venues (such as pubs and clubs), and large international hotel chains. As such, Iona has experience in a diverse range of interesting claims, such as intentional torts (assault), fatalities, compensation to relatives, claims involving children/minors, as well as highly contentious litigation involving numerous defendants.
During her time working with various insurance companies Iona was also involved in preparing submissions for CTP law reform and drafting communications for media publications.
Why clients like her
Having worked in the insurance industry for almost her whole career, Iona is highly regarded by her clients as a trusted business partner. She is uniquely placed to understand her client’s specialised needs due to her in-depth understanding of issues and pressures facing them from an industry and commercial perspective. By way of example, Iona worked with a number of clients during periods of legislative change and industry regulation to provide clear advice on how the changes would affect each client and the industry at large, and has been asked by clients to provide risk management advice and claims management strategies. Iona regularly communicates industry news and reports on relevant case law to keep her clients up to date.
Clients appreciate Iona’s no-nonsense approach to claims, and her commitment to achieving her clients’ goals and desired outcomes. She works collaboratively with clients on claims strategy with a view to promoting early resolution wherever possible. While Iona is a strong litigator and negotiator, Iona’s clients appreciate her commercial mindset and balanced approach to management of claims.
Iona is often called upon by peers and clients alike to provide training, mentoring, value add services and present seminars due to her tailored and audience specific approach to learning and development. Her commitment and accessibility to clients is fuelled by her genuine passion for insurance litigation.