Mutual insurers and friendly societies are different from conventional insurance companies. John Gilbert noticed this simple fact over 20 years ago and has focused ever since on advising on the particular laws and regulations applicable to friendly societies and other mutual insurers – and also on regulations designed for conventional insurers which often produce unintended consequences when applied to mutuals. Mutual insurers and their trade bodies have sought out John to play a leading role in all the major developments affecting the sector: Project Chrysalis, the Holloway exemption from RDR, the impact of Solvency II, and the Mutuals’ Deferred Shares Act (where he wrote the first draft of the legislation and regularly participates in the roundtable discussions between the industry, the government and the regulators on implementation).
John’s transactional work includes advising on numerous transfers of engagements between friendly societies, on the incorporation of registered societies, new product launches and the acquisition of businesses through the purchase of shares. He also advises individual societies on corporate governance, general compliance issues and amendments to rules. Mutual societies are an ideal vehicle for Islamic insurance, or takaful, and John has been at the forefront of thinking on how UK mutuals can develop shariah-compliant products to serve this growing market.