25 April 2016

Chambers Europe 2016 recommends Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte

Renowned Chambers & Partners again ranks Wilhelm as a leading firm for insurance law in Germany.

"[...] A growing German insurance boutique with expertise in industrial damages claims and D&O matters. Widely recognised for its specialism in representing policyholders in litigation cases, while also acting for re-insurers and brokers. Additional areas of focus range from underwriting assistance and the structuring of insurance programs. [...]"

The full review and ranking is published online at


13 April 2016

Federal Court of Justice: „Seriousness“ of claim no precondition for insured event in D&O insurance – assignment is permissible

With two recent decisions, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has clarified that the written claim is decisive for the occurrence of an insured event in D&O insurance.

It is not required that the aggrieved policy holder proves “seriousness” of its claim in the internal liability case. Furthermore, the insured manager’s assignment of his indemnification claim to the company claiming against him is permissible. By this, the BGH creates legal certainty for policy holders and insured persons in D&O insurance. The view represented by Wilhelm for years has prevailed.

In the two cases handled by Wilhelm, companies had claimed for compensation against their current managers for different breaches of duty (in Germany, most D&O cases are insured vs. insured cases where the company claims compensation from its own manager). Subsequently, the mangers (insured persons) assigned their indemnification claim (insurance cover) under the D&O insurance to their respective company (policy holder).

In both cases, the insurer refused coverage. It assumed that the companies had no serious intention to enforce their claim for compensation from the managers who were still working with the companies. It argued that the companies brought the claim only as a matter of form in order to trigger the insured event collusively collaborating with the insured persons. Furthermore, the insurer assumed the assignment to be impermissible. The policy holding companies, represented by the law firm Wilhelm, subsequently sued for coverage. In two often criticized decisions, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf followed the view of the defendant insurer: according to the court, the insured event not only needed a formal letter of claim, but also required a “seriousness” of the damage claim. Whether a claim was “serious” in this sense, would then be a case-by-case decision of the trial judge.

The BGH now allowed the claiming companies‘ appeal (file numbers IV ZR 304/13 and IV ZR 51/14 of 13 April 2016) and by this followed the argumentation of the law firm Wilhelm.

  • The manager’s right to assign his indemnification claim to the company is permissible.
  • The „seriousness of the claim for compensation“ is no precondition for the insured event in D&O-insurance.

The decision of the BGH is pointing the way for D&O-insurance in Germany. It eliminates legal uncertainties that existed for policy holders and insureds in D&O-insurance and general liability insurance since the decisions of the OLG Düsseldorf in 2013. “In the future, insured persons will again be able to assign their insurance cover to the aggrieved company without the insurer being able to assume contract violation”, explains Dr. Wilhelm, partner at the law firm Wilhelm. Also, a claim for damages against the manager will no longer be an obstacle to a continued employment of the insured manager.

The BGH will publish the reasons for the decision within the next weeks.

Dr. Mark Wilhelm and Lars Winkler, both partners with Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte, were responsible for the handling of both matters. The appeals were performed by BGH-lawyers Dr. Mennemeyer and Dr. Scholz.


1 December 2015

Legal 500 recommends Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte

In its new 2016 edition, Legal 500 again ranks our law firm as one of the leading German insurance firms.

"[...] Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte has ‘very good insurance sector connections’ and its team of ‘subject matter experts’ regularly acts for international and domestic insurers, reinsurers, agents and public corporations in insurance and liability matters [...]"

The full ranking and report on our firm is available online at


2 November 2015

JUVE recommends Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte

The renowned JUVE Handbook German Commercial Law Firms ranks Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte again as one of Germany's leading insurance law firms.

"Competitors are following the development of this highly recommended firm in insurance very closely. There was much positive market feedback for Wilhelm’s team, which is described as highly enterprising and innovative. The insurance and liability boutique’s wealth of ideas comes from the fact that it has always focused on industrial clients since its startup and is thus a pioneer for a development now seen at DLA and White & Case. Recently, this mostly involved business interruption and liability claims from the IT and engineering sectors, where Herdter stood out. The long-time associate developed the practice and was appointed partner. The firm drew much attention for the claim by concert organizer Deag against Gothaer following the cancellation of a rock festival at Nürburgring."

Please find the full ranking and recommendation on


14 October 2015

UK Insurance Act 2015: Lack of knowledge concerning changes endangers insurance cover

The recent reform of the English insurance law may have consequences for the insurance cover of German companies.

This is pointed out by the authors of a multilingual update on the UK Insurance Act 2015. The guidance was jointly published by the insurance law firms Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte (Düsseldorf), Covington & Burling (London) and Grenier Avocats (Paris).

The UK Insurance Act 2015 will become effective on 12 August 2016 and constitutes the first essential reform of the English insurance law for more than 100 years. It brings changes i.a. for the policy holder’s pre-contractual disclosure duties, the consequences of breaches of warranties and the insurer’s remedies. Commercial policy holders outside the United Kingdom may be affected by the reform, for example when they purchase insurance cover via the London market – as done more frequently by German companies nowadays.

“From a policy holder’s perspective, the advantages of the reform of the English insurance law outweigh the disadvantages. Nevertheless, risk managers and inhouse broker should have knowledge of and comply with the new provisions - particularly when it comes to disclosure duties. Otherwise, they might endanger their insurance cover”, says Dr. Mark Wilhelm, managing partner at Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte in Düsseldorf.

Policy holders should also be aware that insurers may contract-out of many new provisions that protect policy holders. “It is thus crucial to know your rights and to look out for attempts of your insurer to contract-out”, says Wilhelm.

For a better understanding, the authors of the guide make comparisons of the revised English provisions with German and French insurance law. The publication is available upon request in German, English and French.


28 September 2015

"If a rework is not possible, customers will have a right to return"

On the Geman TV channel ZDF, Dr. Mark Wilhelm comments on the rights of customers in a recent emissions scandal of a German automaker.

Please find the full video stream (ZDF heute journal of 28 September 2015) under the link below.


28 August 2015

"Project company wins with Wilhelm in property insurance case"

The legal news service JUVE reports on a recent judgment by the Regional Court Essen on erection insurance.

Please find the full report (German language only) on


27 August 2015

"Be on the spot immediately and start negotiating"

German weekly Wirtschaftswoche reports on Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte and further leading insurance law firms.

Please finde the full report (German language only) online on