9 December 2016

Wilhelm a leading insurance firm, says Legal 500

Once more, the renowned legal directory Legal 500 recommends Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte in the practice area Insurance - Dispute Resolution.

In its new Germany edition, the researchers praise Wilhelm's "constantly good team" and highlight the firm's expertise in major losses, in D&O insurance as well as in product liability. According to the directory, the firm has specific industry experience i.a. in energy, chemicals and pharma, as well as in construction and real estate.

The recommendation is based on interviews with clients and competitors.

Please find the latest rankings online on An English version will be released in early 2017.


3 November 2016

"Highly recommended in Insurance Law": JUVE Handbook 2017

Wilhelm maintains its leading role in German insurance law, says the countries most important law firm directory JUVE.

"This highly recommended firm in insurance is clearly positioned at the side of insurance policyholders in a way that few of its competitors are. With this focus on industrial instructions, the insurance and liability boutique is at the vanguard of a trend that competitors such as White & Case and other large firms are increasingly pursuing. One client praises the team around Wilhelm for its entrepreneurial thinking: “brilliant minds who are very engaged and act strategically”. Much attention was also brought to the firm on the basis of a success before the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof): Wilhelm and Winkler won a precedent dispute for two clients on assignment of claims and the conditions for a claim on the part of the D&O insurer. [...]"

The full ranking and appreciation of our firm can be found online on


19 October 2016

"Current situation of some companies does not correspond with paid manager bonuses"

Dr. Mark Wilhelm in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung  on bonuses for executives of companies in crisis situations.

Please find the full article (German language only) online on 


27 September 2016

FOCUS magazine: Wilhelm one of Germany's leading business law firms

In its special edition „Deutschlands Top-Anwälte 2016“ (Germany's top lawyers 2016), the German weekly FOCUS  ranks Wilhelm as one of the leading firms for insurance law.

Together with the renowned research institute Statista, the editors of FOCUS identified 301 firms in 24 practice areas. The list is based on recommendations by 2,600 lawyers and general counsels.

The special edition can be ordered online on


13 July 2016

"This argumentation turns the idea of fidelity insurance upside down"

Dr. Fabian Herdter in an interview with Versicherungsmonitor  on the settlement of "fake president" cases by fidelity insurers.

Please find the full article released 13 July 2016 on (German language only).


28 June 2016

"Federal Court of Justice has put a stop to the strategy of some insurers"

Dr. Mark Wilhelm in an interview with Handelsblatt on the recent decision of the German Federal Court of Justice on the assignment and seriousness of claims under D&O insurance.

Please find the full article released 28 June 2016 by Handelsblatt (page 17) online (German language only).


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.