Peter Hunt, partner with McElroys, explains how State Insurance set him on a course for litigation, and why AI should be harnessed to promote insurance.
Why insurance law?
Straight out of law school I acted for State Insurance on liability and recovery cases. It was good work which regularly saw me in court conducting trials. I could see insurance litigation offered much to an aspiring litigator.
How would you change the industry?
Build a better reputation for insurance in New Zealand. Insurance is a key component of our economy and good insurers contribute much to our economic viability. I would have someone use artificial intelligence to develop an algorithm which predicts the net benefit of insurance in the event of another disaster on the scale of the Christchurch earthquakes.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
It is better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Appearing in court to argue that a defamer should be sentenced to imprisonment for contempt of court. He had a team of protesters in the back of the court and he was treating the Judge with derision. She withstood the barrage and put him away.
If you were prime minister for one day, what would you do?
Reform our contribution law which is a mess. Appoint Warren Sowerby to the Waitangi Tribunal. Play golf with Obama on Augusta National.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
Appearing at the Privy Council. As I walked towards the court Tony Blair drove out from No 10. The Council members were Lords Hope, Brown and Carswell – all very learned.
What’s your favourite style of coffee?
Long macchiato. It’s like a flat white but with much less milk. Bad for Fonterra but better for you.
Union, league, soccer or other?
All of those and add golf, tennis and cricket. Favourite team Liverpool, favourite athlete Jordan Speith.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family or friends, who would they be and why?
Queen Elizabeth 1, Nelson Mandela and Clint Eastwood to whom the invite would say “Go ahead make my dinner party”.
Complete this sentence: if I wasn’t in insurance law I would be…
Lost in the disturbing world of forensic accounting.