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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Switzerland > Insurance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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'Competent and commercial' firm CMS houses 'a dedicated insurance group', which is 'very knowledgeable for insurance claims and contracts under Swiss law'. Focus areas include all aspects of the life cycle of insurance products, policies and broker agreements, as well as the representation of insurance and reinsurance companies in a broad range of proceedings before courts, arbitration tribunals and supervisory-law authorities. The 'talented, supportive and thorough' Clemens von Zedtwitz is experienced in professional, commercial and medical liability claims, as well as insurance policies in regulated sectors.

The 'pragmatic, client-focused and very approachable' insurance practice at gbf Attorneys-at-law Ltd is recommended for its 'commitment to high quality' work, 'outstanding knowledge of the Swiss insurance and regulatory environment', as well as its 'excellent national and international network'. Frequently acting for insurance and reinsurance carriers, the team handles the obtaining of Swiss licences, regulatory requirements, M&A transactions, recovery actions, while also defending clients against D&O, E&O and professional indemnity claims. 'Proactive and solutions-oriented regulatory expert' Dominik Skrobala, who joined from Prager Dreifuss AG in September 2017, is representing AIG in a coverage assessment and a D&O policy dispute in Poland, and handles advisory and FINMA-related matters for Wertgarantie. Lars Gerspacher, who is 'profoundly knowledgeable in transport liability cases', acts for Helvetia Insurance in a coverage dispute concerning theft from a warehouse against the insured claimant.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd impresses with its 'rare specialist knowledge of insurance regulation'. Other key areas of expertise include private insurance law, review of policies and conditions, insurance fraud and liability defence, co- and re-insurance litigation, as well as its strength in resolving issues with insurance brokers. Transport specialist Alexander von Ziegler heads the practice, while Olivier Favre  provides 'great value' to clients and 'understands issues quickly'.

The 'highly experienced and knowledgeable practice group' at Bär & Karrer Ltd. has 'in-depth, practical expertise in insurance regulation matters and FINMA's supervisory standards'. Tied into the banking, life sciences and dispute resolution departments, the nine-partner team counts Allianz Suisse Versicherungs-Gesellschaft, Chubb Insurance and AON Schweiz among its clients. 'Highly knowledgeable, supportive and responsive' lead Peter Hsu advised Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse on a transaction involving Swiss Export Risk Insurance guaranteeing the financing of a Brazilian power plant through a $1bn bond issuance. 'Outstanding, high-calibre lawyer' Roland Truffer assisted Swiss Re with the re-domiciliation of Swiss Re Asia from Zurich to Singapore.

Lenz & Staehelin's client portfolio features international and domestic insurers and re-insurers, financial institutions, funds and regulators, among others. The team is best known for advisory services in a corporate, investment, transactional and outsourcing environment, while also handling insurance policy and risk transfer aspects. Carterpillar Insurance, AXA, Baloise and Schweizerische Mobiliar receive regular assistance from the team, which is headed by Olivier Stahler and Lukas Morscher.

VISCHER specialises in resolving coverage issues regarding financial lines, D&O, crime, cyber and property policies for insurance companies, brokers and insured parties. Daniele Favalli is the key contact. The firm also provides ancillary services to the insurance sector, including handling Baloise's CHF288m acquisition of a majority share in Pax Anlage; Benedict Christ  led the advice.

Homburger advises on Swiss insurance regulations and risk transfers, as well as transactions in the insurance sector. It also handles liability disputes, D&O claims, reinsurance litigation and FINMA proceedings. Hansjürg Appenzeller assisted Ergo Versicherung with the sale of DAS Rechtsschutz-Versicherung to Allianz Suisse Versicherungs-Gesellschaft. Felix Dasser is the key contact for dispute resolution.

The 'vastly knowledgeable and solution-driven' insurance team at Kellerhals Carrard is known for its 'reliable, efficient, professional and personable collaboration' with clients and 'a good connection to commercial ancillary practices'. It handles a range of work, including the resolution of disputes, liability and coverage issues and the design of insurance products, as well as regulatory advice and negotiations with FINMA. Basel-based Pascal Grolimund, who 'has a very clear judgement of situations', defended a large insurance company against a multimillion-dollar coverage claim brought by a policy holder, including bringing a counter-claim concerning alleged insurance fraud related to a disability pension. Practice head Christoph Frey produces 'outstanding work' and 'never fails to keep the client informed with to-the-point memos'.

The 'responsive and solution-focused' team at Pestalozzi demonstrates 'thorough regulatory know-how in the Swiss and US insurance fields' and is able to 'adapt to the client's needs'. Other areas of expertise are sector-related M&A transactions, as well as corporate and contractual matters. Practice head Christoph Lang and 'knowledgeable and practical' Beat Schwarz acted for AIG on its $5.56bn acquisition of re-insurer Validus, while 'experienced and flexible' Christian Leuenberger regularly assists the same client with the provision of W&I insurance during M&A transactions.

The team at Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte mainly advises insurance companies on contractual liability, D&O, social security and private insurance law, while also handling claims management, coverage issues and the drafting of policies. Common areas of liability disputes include professional, product, medical negligence, transport and travel claims. Martin Bürkle is the key contact.

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  • Bär & Karrer awarded by Mergermarket as "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018"

    At this year's Mergermarket European Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2018 in London, Bär & Karrer has been awarded as the "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018".
  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Sellers of Astes4 SA

    The owners of Astes4 SA, a company based in Balerna, Switzerland, which is engaged in development, production and sales of patented automated sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines, sold their interests in the company to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Electric is active in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. By acquiring Astes4, Mitsubishi Electric will further strengthen its lineup of automation systems together with sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines to provide its valued customers with integrated solutions that require less manual loading, unloading and sorting to realize higher productivity and efficiency.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Constellium on the Sale of Rolling Business Assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to

    On 23 July 2018, Constellium Valais SA, a company of the Constellium group engaged in the aluminium plate and extrusions businesses for industry, aerospace and transportation applications, successfully completed the sale of its aluminium rolling business assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to Novelis Switzerland SA for EUR 200 million. The assets, consisting of real estate, machinery and equipment, were previously leased by Constellium Valais to Novelis Switzerland and both parties will continue to operate in Sierre following the transaction. Concurrently with the asset sale, Constellium Valais contributed the Sierre site's shared infrastructure to a newly established 50-50 joint venture with Novelis Switzerland.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Bank Cler in Connection with the Public Tender Offer by Cantonal Bank of Basel

    On 20 June 2018, the Cantonal Bank of Basel, which already holds 77.52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Bank Cler Ltd., published the preannouncement for a public tender offer for all publicly held bearer shares of Bank Cler, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Subsequently, Bank Cler concluded a transaction agreement with the Cantonal Bank of Basel regarding the public tender offer. The Cantonal Bank of Basel offers CHF 52 per share of Bank Cler. Taking into consideration the results of the Fairness Opinion of an independent Expert, the board of directors of Bank Cler recommends to its shareholders to accept the offer.
  • Bär & Karrer Successful in Appeal Proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court Against the F

    On 11 May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The request was made based on lists containing several thousand UBS Switzerland AG account numbers which are or were held by persons presumed to be French residents for tax purposes. The French tax authorities were asking for Switzerland to provide names and dates of birth of the persons connected to the accounts as well as the account balances. UBS Switzerland AG (which the Federal Administrative Court ("FAC") had granted party status in its judgment A-4974/2016 of 25 October 2016) and private individuals directly affected lodged appeals with the FAC against the Federal Tax Administration’s final decisions, which were issued on 9 February 2018.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises BZ Bank on Purchase of United Grinding Group

    BZ Bank Aktiengesellschaft, through its acquisition company LEMRO AG, purchased the United Grinding Group from Körber Beteiligungen GmbH. The United Grinding Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of precision grinding machines.
  • Bär & Karrer advised PSP Swiss Property on Sale of a Commercial Property

    PSP Swiss Property sold a commercial property in Petit-Lancy, Geneva. The property at the Av. des Morgines 8/10 (approx. 14'000 m2 of rentable space) was sold for CHF 55 million to an affiliate company of Epic Suisse AG.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in a Combined Offering on the Placement of Sha

    Idorsia Ltd successfully placed 11,912,000 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded. The offer price was set at CHF 25.62 per share. Additionally, Idorsia successfully placed CHF 200 million of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 in a private placement with institutional investors.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Vontobel on the Placement of CHF 450 Million Tier 1 Bonds to fund the acquisit

    Vontobel Holding AG successfully completed the placement of CHF 450 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.625% until 2023. The proceeds of this capital market transaction will be mainly used to finance the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Swiss Re in the Offering of USD 500 Million Senior Exchangeable Notes with Iss

    Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re) has completed an offering of USD 500 million, 6-year senior exchangeable notes, which may be stock settled at the option of Swiss Re or may be exchanged at the option of noteholders for registered shares of Swiss Re, unless Swiss Re elects to settle the exchange of notes in cash. Swiss Re has purchased call options on its own shares, which allow it to settle an exchange by noteholders without issuing new shares.