John is a Partner in Kennedys’ London office. He leads the firm’s financial lines practice and is a member of the Executive Board.

For the majority of John’s career, he has focused on financial lines matters. John’s practice is split roughly 50/50 in terms of insurance coverage instructions and defence work.

In terms of coverage instructions, John is regularly instructed in relation to very high value and/or complex matters across the spectrum of financial lines policies, including financial institutions, directors’ and officers’, crime, professional indemnity and pension trustee liability policies. He is also instructed in relation to warranty and indemnity claims. John is also a member of our Caribbean practice team.

As to defence instructions, John defends financial and other professionals and also directors and officers. He is known for defending asset managers, independent financial advisers (IFAs), directors and officers and corporate service providers.

John’s work, both coverage and defence, frequently has an international aspect, with his current workload involving claims emanating from Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. During his career he has also worked in New York and China.

John is the sole lawyer on the London Market Association’s Financial Institutions Underwriting Business Panel where he advises the committee on emerging issues and trends, realistic disaster scenario exercises and wordings. He is also a member of the Fraud Advisory Panel, the Insurance Underwriting Association’s Cyber Legal and Claims Sub-Group (one of two lawyers on the panel) and the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL).

A keen lecturer in the UK and around the world, including the US, John also writes for the insurance press.

John is highly regarded by his clients. Quotes from the Gracechurch London Market Law Monitor 2023 include “Exceptional technical ability and client service” and “Good communication and expertise.”

John contributed to the writing of Kennedys' 'Global forecast 2024: Evolving insurance risks' report, published in January 2024.

Exceptional technical ability and client service.

Qualifications and admissions

  • Qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales in 1999

Market recognition

  • Recommended lawyer for 'Insurance and reinsurance litigation (London)'
    The Legal 500 UK 2024
  • Nominated by respondents for delivering outstanding service in the last 12 months 
    “Exceptional technical ability and client service” and “Good communication and expertise”
    The Gracechurch London Market Insurance Law Monitor 2023
  • Notable practitioner for 'Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance (UK-wide)'
    "John Bruce is pragmatic and commercial. He is very knowledgeable".
    Chambers UK 2023
  • Notable practitioner for 'Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance (UK-wide)'
    "John is excellent - very knowledgeable and good at advising on claims strategy."
    "He is an approachable and sensible lawyer who does well for his clients."
    Chambers UK 2022
  • Recommended lawyer for 'Insurance and reinsurance litigation (London)'
    The Legal 500 UK 2022
  • Notable practitioner for 'Insurance: Contentious claims, reinsurance and Volume claims (UK-wide)' 
    "He is straightforward and very easy to work with."
    Chambers UK 2021
  • “I would nominate him for his market knowledge, his expertise and his communication.”
    The Gracechurch London Market Insurance Law Report 2019
  • “He is very knowledgeable, he is positive to work with, he works very well with the market and he is accommodating. He's very efficient and he's got a commercial approach to claims.”
    The Gracechurch London Market Insurance Law Report 2019
  • “He just has a lot of great knowledge in the D&O and FI spheres. His technical ability is second to none. He is very commercial. Always thinks about how we can resolve a claim on a commercial basis, and he is very well respected in the market.”
    The Gracechurch London Market Insurance Law Report 2019
  • Recommended Lawyer for 'Professional negligence (London)'
    The Legal 500 UK 2018/19

Work highlights

  • Acting for insurers in relation to multi billion dollar fintech fraud loss and related claims on civil liability and D&O covers involving advice in the US, England and Israel.
  • Successfully defending London Reinsurers in respect of crime claim losses in Colombian arbitration and subsequent appeals.
  • Defending director in relation to breach of duty claim involving National Security and Investment Act 2021.
  • Acting for insurers in relation to numerous US Securities Class Actions affecting English domiciled insureds.
  • Acting for the market in relation to high value Greek coverage proceedings concerning significant Greek crime insurance loss (reportedly the highest value coverage dispute in Greece).
  • Instructed in relation to US$167 million fraud arising out of the issuance of fraudulent warehouse receipts in respect of aluminium held in Qingdao, China.
  • Instructed in relation to US$70 million claim against a Channel Islands domiciled airplanes securitization vehicle, with litigation before the New York courts.
  • Instructed to defend claims brought against an IFA network in relation to a Ponzi scheme fraud committed by one of the network’s former advisers. Numerous claims in the courts and before the Financial Ombudsman Service, including judicial review proceedings.
  • Acted for insurers in relation to £450 million coverage dispute arising from bank’s alleged mis-selling of interest rate hedging products. The dispute involved issues of both English and Australian law.
  • Acting for London market insurers regarding various ongoing notifications and actions arising out of the Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
  • Successfully defended London-based stockbroker in relation to multi-million pound claim alleging failure to prevent misappropriation of client’s assets.
  • Acted for insurers in relation to £50 million warranty and indemnity claim arising from a share sale in the telecoms sector.