Kennedys breaks new ground by forming associations in Central America and the Caribbean

We are pleased to confirm that we have become the first international law firm to establish a presence in each of the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Panama as we continue to increase our global footprint through three new associations.

These are the three biggest markets in Central America and the Caribbean after Puerto Rico – where we established an association last year – and all have robust and growing insurance markets.

By extending our footprint to eleven territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, we now have the largest reach of any insurance firm for the region – with all our offices and associations complementing our regional hub in Miami, which opened in 2010.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner at Kennedys, says: “We believe it is in our best interests to formally associate ourselves with these firms, in jurisdictions that are poised to have substantial growth in the near future."

As our other moves in the region have already shown, an important factor in success is being there first. Through these associations, we are securing Kennedys’ premiere position in the Latin America and Caribbean insurance market and adding to our considerable expertise across the region for our clients.

We are joining forces in the Dominican Republic with Alvarez & Alvarez, a medium-sized firm that focuses almost exclusively on insurance law and acts for large domestic and international insurers. It is headed by Carlos Francisco Alvarez.

The Dominican Republic is the biggest economy in the Caribbean and the ninth largest in Latin America. As a major tourism destination attracting infrastructure investment, it has quickly established a sizeable (re)insurance industry focused on auto, property, and third-party liability.

In Guatemala, we have linked up with Palomo & Porras, a medium-sized firm of 16 lawyers, headed by Federico Palomo, that specialise in intellectual property, commercial, maritime, regulatory and insurance litigation. It counts many of Guatemala’s biggest national and international (re)insurers among its clients.

Guatemala has long been one of the strongest economies in Central America, and is one of its largest countries too. Guatemala’s ties to agriculture have created a rich (re)insurance culture within the country, as volcanoes, frosts, landslides and the occasional strong storm threaten vital crops and property.

In Panama, we have formed an association with KBK Abogados, a three-lawyer expert practice headed by Carlos Berguido, current executive president of the Panamanian Banking Association, and former executive director of the Panamanian Insurance Association. The firm counts a number of the most important (re)insurers in Panama as clients.

Despite a population of only four million, Panama has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with an average annual growth rate of 5.6 percent over the last five years. Many major international insurance businesses operate in the country, and netted approaching $1.5bn last year in premiums.

Our rapid expansion across the region has been predicated on client demand, and we have built relationships with each of these firms on the back of recommendations from mutual clients and have a proven record of success after working together for some time.

Alex Guillamont, Head of Kennedys’ Latin America and the Caribbean practice

Alex added: “The insurance market across Latin America and the Caribbean is on the cusp of substantial growth, with insurance penetration increasing steadily in recent years but still well below the level seen in developed markets. Our combination of local, regional and global knowledge and expertise is valued greatly by our clients, who will benefit from the combination of each of our new and existing associations and Kennedys’ global reach and experience.”

These three new offices join our existing network in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and our regional hub in Miami.