Vanessa Ma

Senior Associate

Vanessa is an experienced senior lawyer with over a decade in practice in the specialised area of insurance law. She has dedicated her career to representing major insurance companies in New Zealand.

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Vanessa’s practice areas encompass fire and general, maritime, material damage, earthquake claims, defective buildings and subrogated recovery. She works closely with experts in marine surveying, engineering and quantity surveying to deliver comprehensive and effective legal support to insurers.

When it comes to resolving insurance disputes, Vanessa has appeared in the High Court, at JSC’s and mediations. In addition to her litigation work, she provides policy advice, indemnity opinions and policy drafting services.

Vanessa is known for her pragmatic, client-focused approach, always seeking to understand her clients’ goals and concerns so that she can provide the most effective legal support.

Vanessa is Duncan Cotterill’s representative on the Global Insurance Legal Connect (GILC) Marine Special Interest Group.

Recent highlights

  • Representing an insurer and homeowner in the High Court in respect of a defective building claim following the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence.

  • Representing an insurer in respect of a High Court proceeding in respect of indemnity issues.

  • Drafting a Material Damage and Business Interruption policy for small businesses.

  • Representing and the provision of advice to an insurer in respect of fraudulent claims.


Can banks terminate unpopular customers? 

12 September 2023

Publication: Covering the New Zealand insurance market 2023

28 August 2023

Supreme Court clarifies liability for breach of directors' duties and extent of damages in latest Mainzeal decision – and reiterates call for review of the Act

25 August 2023

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  • Vanessa completed a ten-month secondment to an insurer where she provided advice on policy wording as well as general insurance and commercial matters.

  • She is a committee member of the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand.

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