Invited Speakers

Gavin Beardsell

Investment Manager - Omni Bridgeway

Gavin Beardsell is an Investment Manager based in Omni Bridgeway's Sydney office, responsible for managing funding opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. He is currently managing Omni Bridgeway's investments in a range of funded claims. In Australia, this includes the Sirtex Medical shareholder class action, Combustible Cladding class actions and the CoreStaff mine workers class action, and in New Zealand, the CBL Corporation shareholder class action and Combustible Cladding class action.

Gavin has over 25 years' experience in commercial litigation and class actions. As a Partner at the UK's largest insurance law firm, BLM, he acted for several leading UK insurers and their clients in relation to high value claims in the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal.

Since 2008, Gavin has practised in Australia, as a Partner at Gilchrist Connell and then as Senior Consultant at Clyde & Co. He has acted for insurers and large corporations defending and/or advising on high profile class actions brought by shareholders, debenture holders and other investors in the Federal Court of Australia, and the Supreme Courts of NSW and Victoria. These include OZ Minerals, WorleyParsons, UGL Limited, Australian Executor Trustees and RiverCity Motorway Group.

Professional background
Gavin has a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Exeter University, England and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Distinction) from the College of Law, England. He is admitted to practise law in Australia and in England & Wales.

Melody Carr

National Head of Financial Lines and Professional Indemnity Claims Advocacy - Marsh

Melody is a qualified Corporate Solicitor possessing extensive experience in guiding many of Australia’s largest ASX 200 listed corporations through complex, large scale class action litigation. In her role as the National Head of Financial Lines and Professional Indemnity Claims Advocacy with the world's leading insurance broker Marsh, Melody provides advanced specialty advice, guidance and support to corporate clients throughout all aspects of complex class action litigation, assisting to navigate and overcome coverage complexities and effect protocols for stakeholder and risk management to mitigate loss and improve the client experience.

Prior to joining Marsh Melody gained an enhanced insight into the diversity and scale of financial lines class action proceedings across a vast number of industries, having worked within financial lines claims for Australia’s largest domestic Insurer Allianz Australia Limited, in Corporate Insolvency, Risk, Compliance and Dispute Resolution for one of Australia’s largest BIG4 Australian Banks, and in private practice for Jones King Solicitors and Milton Graham Lawyers.

Throughout her career Melody gained a wealth of experience in the procedural logistics, complex coverage issues and intricacies of large scale class action proceedings in the financial lines insurance arena, and has a passion for devising advanced claims management strategies which proactively minimise carrier and client risk exposure. Possessing a wealth of established industry relationships in the financial lines insurance and legal sectors Melody excels in the active engagement and collaboration of all stakeholders within the client loss experience, and is committed to going above and beyond to achieve outstanding outcomes.

Chris Ehlers

Partner at MDD Forensic Accountants

Chris is a partner at MDD Forensic Accountants with offices in Sydney, Perth and Auckland. He began his career with MDD in Houston in 2004 and worked in the London Market in 2007 prior to relocating to Sydney in 2008 to open MDD’s first office in the region. Chris has spoken at numerous industry seminars and hosts the MDD Annual Damages Forum which is an event for the Insurance Market which focuses solely on Economic Damage policy related issues.

Currently his key practice areas include property and cyber related business interruption as well as a wide variety of matters which require expert accounting evidence. Chris has provided expert reports and given expert evidence numerous times in both State and Federal court.

Nathan Grills

Chief Technology Officer at My Plan Manager

As Australia’s largest NDIS Plan Manager, MPM now helps over 30,000 clients make the most of their NDIS funding while also ensuring prompt payment for service providers.

MPM recently finished 2nd overall in the Deloitte Tech Fast 50. Prior to joining MPM, Richard was CIO at ORIX Australia and Head of Digital Transformation at Aussie Home Loans.

Richard Hilliard

Public Health Physician at the Nossal Institute for Global health, University of Melbourne

Professor Nathan Grills (MBBS, MPH, DPHIL, DPH) works on non-communicable diseases, public health and disability largely in the context of community settings. He has been a regular Covid19 commentator in all forms of media including writing 20 Opinion editorials, and undertaking various print, radio and TV interviews including regular appearances on BBC world news. In global health he established a number of community health and development projects in rural India. He has undertaken community health work in India, PNG, Fiji, Bangladesh, Nepal, Kenya, Thailand and Mozambique. Nathan researches disability measurement and inclusion and has a person experience of disability through caring for his 9 year old daughter. In the past Nathan has extensively researched the role of FBOs in responding to HIV and disability (DPhil at Oxford University under a Rhodes scholarship).

Dr Kourosh Kayvani

Partner, HKA

Dr Kourosh Kayvani has more than 30 years’ experience as an executive leader, Chartered Professional Engineer, technical expert and academic in the built environment sector.

Dr Kayvani is a Partner at HKA, leading Forensic Technical Services in Australia and New Zealand for one of the world’s leading consultancies in risk mitigation and dispute resolution for the capital projects and infrastructure sector.

Dr Kayvani’s career in engineering has included many extraordinary highlights. Among these was his role as Lead structural engineer on the ANSTO OPAL Nuclear Reactor at Lucas Heights, which was opened in 2007; Lead design engineer and project leader for the roof and arch of London’s Wembley Stadium, again opened in 2007; and Design Director responsible for erection engineering of the complex roof structure of the Express Rail Link, West Kowloon Terminus in Hong Kong, which opened in 2018.

A Fellow and Board Director of Engineers Australia, Dr Kayvani is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and a non-executive director at the Australian Steel Institute. He has been a Good Design Ambassador for Good Design Australia since 2020. In 2006, Dr Kayvani was awarded for his contribution to design of long span structures world-wide, with the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering prize. In 2016, he received the John Connell Gold Medal the highest accolade given annually by the Structural College of Engineers Australia, and in 2009 was also named by Engineers Australia as one of the 100 Most Influential Engineers in the country.

Quinton Kotze

Cyber & Technology Product Manager, A&NZ

Quinton is responsible for Chubb’s Cyber and Technology insurance underwriting strategy, portfolio management, product and services development across Australia and New Zealand.

Quinton has 20 years of insurance industry experience, having started his career in London working for both insurers and Lloyds markets. He has held various underwriting, broking and management roles in the UK, New Zealand and South Africa.

Associate Professor Tania Leiman

Associate Professor and Dean of Law, Flinders University

Dean of Law at Flinders University, Associate Professor Tania Leiman is committed to equipping legal professionals to identify opportunities for innovation, understand impacts of emerging technologies and use this knowledge and skill to increase access to justice.

Tania's current interests include automated vehicles, disruption in the legal profession, artificial intelligence and legal tech.

She serves on the
- National Transport Commission [NTC]'s Automated Vehicles Industry Insights Group
- Australian & New Zealand Driverless Vehicles Initiative [ADVI]’s Policy and Risk Group
- National Advisory Board of the Australian Society for Computers and Law.

She has published and presented nationally and internationally on the legal implications of automated vehicles. She is currently collaborating with a multidisciplinary group of UK and EU industry experts regarding the ethics of AVs breaching traffic rules.

Recent relevant publications include:
Reed, Leiman, Palade, Martens & Kester, ‘Ethics of automated vehicles: breaking traffic rules for safety’ (2021) Ethics and information Technology (forthcoming) Leiman, ‘Law and tech collide: foreseeability, reasonableness and advanced driver assistance systems’ (2020) 40 (2) Policy and Society 250

Andy Pitman

Professor in Climate Science | University of New South Wales

Andy Pitman, AO is a Professor in climate science at the University of New South Wales. He is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. He has 35 years’ experience, and broad interests extending across climate modeling, climate change, and climate extremes. This experience places Andy at the forefront of assessing the appropriate use of, and risk of misuse of, future climate projections.

At the international level he has been a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He was a review editor of the 2013 report. He was also a lead author of the Copenhagen Diagnosis. On a national level he has had multiple senior advisory roles in climate science for the Federal Government, the NSW State Government, as well as senior national roles in e-research infrastructure strategy. He was also a member of the science committee advising the Climate Measurement Standards Initiative.

He won the Priestley Medal in 2004, the AMOS Medal in 2009, the NSW Climate Scientist of the Year in 2010, the Royal Society of Victoria medal in 2020 and was elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2016 and is a Fellow of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

Among his over 200 international papers, he co-led a 2021 publication in Nature Climate Change titled Business risk and the emergence of climate analytics which provides a careful analysis of the risks of misuse of climate change data by business.

Dr Andries B Terblanche

Global Lead for Dynamic Risk Assessment, KPMG

Andries specializes in scientific advances in risk management to address the rapidly changing environment that produces unprecedented exposures, including combinations thereof, for which there is no past data or precedent.

He studied risk management and quantitative finance at Tsinghua University in Beijing, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the London School of Economics and New York University’s Stern School of Business. Until 2016 he served as Adjunct Professor in Risk and Actuarial Studies at the University of New South Wales where he taught systemic risk.

Andries’ contribution to risk management involves the application of expert elicitation and network theory to overcome data paucity restraints associated with statistical risk management methodologies. He has advised more than 500 organisations around the world, in different economic sectors, on their systemic risk exposures. They include the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020.

In 2015 he was invited by Prof Menachem Brenner, professor in advanced derivatives at New York University’s Stern School of Business and inventor of the VIX volatility (or “fear”) index, to become a member of the international honors society Beta Gamma Sigma in recognition of his academic achievements and his contribution to business. In 2016 he was appointed (with, amongst others, Nobel Prize laureates) as a Senior Research Fellow to the Global Institute of Finance.

In November 2020 his risk management model won the Geneva based CIR Risk Magazine’s ESG Innovation of the Year Award.

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