10 November 2022

WILHELM awarded with European Captive Award

In the course of the European Captive Forum 2022 in Luxembourg, our firm received the "European Captive Award" in the category "Legal Services".

With this category, the judges (risk managers from major European captives) recognizes Europe's leading law firms in captive consulting for their work in insurance, corporate and regulatory law. WILHELM is the first German law firm to receive the title.

The WILHELM team advises captive owners and decision-makers, among other things, on the corporate law design of captive solutions as well as on insurance contract and regulatory issues in risk transfer. The team also regularly advises insured companies and their captives on handling major claims.

For more information on the award, pleas visit:


6 May 2022

"Know-how at the highest level": The Legal 500

In its 2022 edition The Legal 500 Ranking again lists WILHELM as a tier 2 firm in insurance dispute resolution.

The editors quote clients stating:

‘In my view, the focus on representing the injured party and not the D&O insurance is unique. The law firm acts with two very experienced lawyers and has a very good eye for what is feasible. I really liked the collaboration; in particular, it led to a result that exceeded expectations.’

‘The specialization in certain subject areas (liability, insurance, etc.) leads to a high quality of the service provided. Works are always fully usable for practice. Due to the clear positioning on the side of the policyholder, it is always clear whose side the law firm is on. This helps!’

‘For Dr. Herdter, Lars Winkler and Dr. The same applies to Wilhelm: Extremely good and quick comprehension; solution-oriented suggestions and clear statements so that you know where you stand; on-time delivery; Know-how at the highest level, so you simply feel “in good hands”; Ability to adapt to extensions/changes at short notice. Extensive expertise in insurance law.’

Please visit for the full ranking.


2 May 2022

Liability expert Dr. Jürgen Wolters joins WILHELM

Attorney Dr. Jürgen Wolters (56) will join the team at WILHELM Rechtsanwälte in Düsseldorf as Of Counsel on May 1, 2022. The specialist lawyer for insurance law brings with him experience and expertise in the settlement of liability and financial losses.

"Jürgen Wolters is a proven expert in all liability and insurance issues as well as a seasoned consultant with a broad network and outstanding reputation within the German insurance industry. We are very much looking forward to working together," comments Dr. Mark Wilhelm. As a consultant at WILHELM, Wolters complements the practice groups litigation and insurance law at the law firm's Düsseldorf headquarters.

As a long-standing partner of the commercial law firms Bach Langheid Dallmayr (BLD) and most recently Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek (since 2018), Wolters advised clients in particular on the topics of financial lines and liability insurance. From 2011 to 2017, he was also part of the management of the insurer Die Haftpflichtkasse VVaG - initially on the supervisory board, from 2016 on as a member of the board of directors and later as its chairman. In addition, he headed the German Society for Liability Insurance (DGVH e.V.), which he co-founded, for several years.

"What I particularly like about the new task is the change in perspective to advice that focuses on policyholders," explains Wolters. “I would like to focus on the defense against liability claims. Thus, I remain the contact person for insurers and policyholders alike on this topic.” In addition to dispute resolution, Wolters will advise insured companies, insurance brokers, insurtechs and insurers at WILHELM in the future on the design of insurance conditions and special coverage as well as on supervisory law and management issues.

Wolters is not the first former decision-maker from the insurance industry to join WILHELM Rechtsanwälte. Since 2017, the former global Head of Claims of the insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Dr. Andreas Shell works for WILHELM as Of Counsel in the area of ​​major claims settlement.


24 March 2022

"The law firm Wilhelm is renowned for its expertise in complex insurance disputes": Chambers

In the new Chambers Europe Guide, WILHELM is again ranked as one of the leading inaurance law firms in Germany.

The editors state:

The Düsseldorf-based boutique law firm Wilhelm is renowned for its expertise in complex insurance disputes. The team regularly represents policyholders in litigation, particularly in the areas of property insurance, industrial damage and business interruption as well as D&O. Furthermore, clients seek the firm's strength in handling claims under EAR insurance, with further expertise in the roll-out of insurance products, where the team acts for insurtech companies. Its experience covers various industry sectors, including construction, industrial manufacturing, automotive and energy as well as banking and finance.


"The team always provides usable opinions and suggestions for actions," says a client, further observing: "Results are delivered at the agreed time and partners are well available."

Notable practitioners

Clients appreciate Fabian Herdter for his "strong service attitude."He frequently acts for managers and prominent corporates on complex D&O and insurance coverage disputes especially those with cross-border implications.Prestigious corporates regularly instruct Mark Wilhelm due to his strength in handling complex insurance litigation in relation to construction defects and product liability. One client says: "He always delivers competent analysis and recommendations for action, and is very well connected in the industry and therefore able to assess future developments and develop action alternatives."

The full ranking is available here:


26 January 2022

BGH ruling on business closure insurance leaves many questions unanswered

With a decision of January 26, 2022, the Federal Court of Justice denied insurance claims by a catering business for the Corona-related closure of the first lockdown in 2020. Crucial questions remain unanswered for many pending cases however.

In principle, insurers can effectively limit the scope of coverage of a business closure insurance with a list of named diseases and pathogens in insurance conditions. This was determined by the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof; BGH) with today's decision (Az. IV ZR 144/21).

Restaurant operator hoped for insurance benefit for lockdown

In the dispute that was decided, the operator of a restaurant in Schleswig-Holstein had claimed business closure insurance cover from its insurer for the Corona-related closure in spring 2020. A business closure insurance compensates for the loss of earnings if a business is temporarily closed by an official order for reasons of infection control (other than a business interruption insurance which compensates for loss following a property damage).

The defendant insurer – like almost all business closure insurers in Germany – refused to pay. The argument: a Corona lockdown is not an insured event because the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus and the disease Covid-19 are not mentioned in the insurance terms. Furthermore, for an insured event, a pathogen must be detected within the company's building and the official order must therefore be specifically directed against the single company affected, the insurer stated. The Lübeck Regional Court (Az. 4 O 164/20) and the Schleswig Higher Regional Court (16 U 25/21) followed this argument.

BGH: The refusal of performance by the business closure insurer was lawful

The BGH now partly agrees with this argument. The wording of the clause used by the insurer read: "Notifiable diseases and pathogens within the meaning of these additional conditions are the following diseases and pathogens specified by name in Sections 6 and 7 of the Infection Protection Act: [a longer list follows]". This wording would make it sufficiently clear to the policyholder that only the diseases and pathogens mentioned in the list are insured. The policyholder cannot expect insurance cover that extends to every official closure of a business on the basis of the Infection Protection Act, the BGH ruled.

In parts, however, the BGH also rejected the previous OLG case law: For the insured event in the business closure insurance, it is not important whether there is a risk of infection arising from the business itself, i.e. that the pathogen appeared there.

Judgment leaves many questions unanswered

“In the past, the BGH has regularly and correctly placed high demands on the transparency of general business and insurance terms. With today's decision, the Karlsruhe judges are leaving this line," explains Dr. Mark Wilhelm, partner of WILHELM. The law firm advises more than 1,000 affected policyholders on business closure insurance. The firm however was not involved in the currently decided proceedings.

“It is fundamentally to be welcomed that the BGH has created clarity for some of the policyholders, even if the result is not convincing. Despite the judgment, there are still serious doubts about the transparency of many of the clauses used in the market regarding the scope of coverage for business closure policies," says Wilhelm. "The grandiose advertising promises made by insurers, as well as the behavior of insurers and their representatives in pre-contractual advice and in claims settlement, will still have to be scrutinized by the highest court. For example, in many cases, insurers initially promised coverage for Corona-related closures. It will have to be clarified whether these insurers are not liable despite the list clause in their insurance terms. Among other things, the BGH will have to deal with the question of whether the insurers may have violated § 1a Insurance Contract Act in the appeal proceedings we have pending".


4 December 2020

BGH: Payments after insolvency are insured under the D&O

In a recent judgment, the Federal Court of Justice has clarified against all previous OLG case law: Payments that the insolvency administrator demands back from the managing director (according to former Section 64 sentence 1 GmbHG) are covered by D&O insurance.

If a manager in Germany initiates payments after the company has become insolvent, the insolvency administrator can demand these payments back from the manager (former Section 64 (1) GmbHG). In its judgment of November 18, 2020 (Az. IV ZR 217/19), the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) clarified, contrary to the previous case law of higher regional courts, that these claims are covered by the insurance cover of a D&O insurance. The BGH focuses remarkably clearly on the view of the insured person, which is also important for other branches of insurance.

So far, it had been disputed whether claims by the insolvency administrator against the managing director of the insolvent company for reimbursement of payments made after the bankruptcy was ripe are covered under D&O insurance. The OLG Düsseldorf and the OLG Frankfurt had rejected claims for coverage from the D&O insurance. The argument: Claims for repayment according to § 64 GmbHG are not a "statutory liability claim for damages" in the sense of the insurance conditions, but a claim for compensation "of its own kind".

The BGH did not follow this argument in its judgment. The court ruled that whether claims against a director are insured claims within the meaning of the insurance terms should be assessed solely from the perspective of the average insured person. "It is of particular importance that the Federal Court of Justice once again clarifies that the interpretation of insurance conditions does not depend on subtle legal interpretations, but rather on the understanding of the insured person," explains Dr. Mark Wilhelm, Managing Partner at WILHELM. This underlines the general importance of the judgment for insurance conditions.


28 April 2020

"The worst effect of the solution negotiated in Bavaria is the confusion that has arisen"

Dr. Mark Wilhelm in an interview with Versicherungsmonitor on the recent offer made by insurers to partially settle business interruption losses due to COVID-19.

The full article (German only) can be found on (behind paywall).



24 April 2020

Chambers Guide and Legal 500: WILHELM again one of the leading insurance firms in Germany

Thanks to numerous references by clients and competitors, our firm was ranked in the 2020-edition of Chambers Europe and Legal 500 once more.

We are very grateful for the many positive feedback our work received this year:

The team's accessibility and expertise is praised by one client who states: "What continues to fascinate me about the firm is how uncomplicated they are and their responsiveness. Furthermore, the know-how is at the highest level and they are able to convey that in such a way that others will understand it."

Another client appreciates how the team "focuses on the main issues and are then very persistent in negotiating a good compromise."

The full rankings and reviews can be found on and