Insurance litigation in Germany
BACH LANGHEID DALLMAYR
Having a fine reputation in insurance and liability law, Bach Langheid Dallmayr acts for several well-known German and international insurers and financial services providers and is recognised for its broad contentious and non-contentious offering: Rainer Büsken is the main contact for indemnity insurance matters, while Dirk-Carsten Günther is best known for handling property insurance issues and claims arising from cyber attacks. The team has also been increasingly active in the health insurance sector and advised, with Stephan Hütt in the lead, a German health insurer on a premium adjustment including various related procedures. Together with counsel Sven-Markus Thiel, Björn Seitz, who stands out for his D&O expertise, assisted an international insurance company with matters pertaining to a major incident in the alternative energy sector. In other work, life and accident insurance expert Joachim Grote together with Martin Schaaf and Andrea Nowak-Over provided forensic assistance to a German life insurer in a dispute with a consumer protection association regarding the scope of injunctive relief related to full elimination claims. Carsten Hösker, Oliver Tammer and Ulrich Ruchatz were made up to partner in January 2018 and Holger Schacht was promoted to the partnership in January 2019. Friederike de Biasi, Dominique von Kölln, Jan Kordes and Stefan Schriever were appointed counsel.
In addition to representing clients in large-scale liability and damage claims, handling D&O proceedings, most notably in a banking and insolvency setting, has become another central pillar of CMS’ insurance practice but it has also been increasingly active in the InsurTech sector: team head Winfried Schnepp assisted the Swiss insurance agency FinanceApp with the development of a combined private liability and household insurance to be distributed via digital channels. Clients, including Lombard International Assurance and Octium Life, also benefit from the firm’s expertise in tax law,
DLA Piper receives praise for its ‘good industry knowledge’ and ‘target-oriented approach’, while clients also benefit from its close co-operation with the firm’s dispute resolution and regulatory teams. D&O expert Thomas Gädtke advises BayernLB on D&O claims brought against its former board of directors and administrative council pertaining to the failed acquisition of Hypo Alpe Adria Group and failed ABS investments made during the financial crisis. Other areas of expertise include pension and life insurance matters as well as reinsurance issues; the latter are frequently handled by Gunne Bähr; while Christian Schneider is the main contact for liability, property and transport damage work. Handling automotive sector instructions has been an area of growth for the practice, most notably those pertaining to the development of insurance products. Volker Lemmer was appointed counsel.
Clyde & Co LLP
Clyde & Co LLP fields ‘a young, dynamic and persuasive team of top lawyers’, who are ‘always available’ and are recognised for their ‘excellent expertise and industry knowledge’ as well as their ‘business acumen’. Led by the ‘solution-oriented and pragmatic’ Henning Schaloske, who is ‘highly regarded in the German financial lines insurance market’, the team routinely acts for insurers and reinsurers on D&O, E&O and W&I matters, as well as occupational and product liability, while handling work related to cyber risks has become increasingly important for the practice. Its client portfolio includes, among others, CNA Insurance, Swiss Re, Versicherungskammer Bayern and Westfälische Provinzial Versicherung. The ‘excellent’ Tanja Schramm and senior associate Kathrin Feldmann, who clients ‘fully recommend’, are other key individuals in the team.
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek is experienced in acting in liability and property insurance matters and in defending clients against recourse claims, but the team also handles regular instructions on D&O, credit and life insurance as well as freelancer liability matters. Recent highlights include advising, with Markus Rabe in the lead, an international insurance company on telematics car insurance contracts, and Herbert Palmberger leading assistance to a rental car provider with insurance contracts for its fleet of cars at European airports. Rüdiger Schnug, Stefan Jöster and Michael Lauterbach are other key members in the team. Allianz, AXA, HDI and Zurich are among the long-term clients.
The ‘pragmatic and solution-oriented’ team at Noerr is considered ‘one of the market leaders for D&O litigation’. Clients also value its ‘competent and specialised advice’ and regard its business model extension to also include insurance holders as ‘highly interesting’. Oliver Sieg advised a major German bank on matters regarding the defence of a fund company in a dispute including retrocessionaires against an investor before the High Court in London, and Thomas Heitzer acts for a large German insurance group in US and German D&O proceedings against an automotive group pertaining to falsified capital markets information. In other work, he advised an insurance group on coverage matters pertaining to a case for damages where a hospital concluded treatment contracts with foreign states for war victims.
Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB
Recognised for its ‘efficient and structured approach, very good insurance law expertise and very high quality standards’, Wilhelm Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB’s eleven-strong team specialises in representing insurance holders in major damage claims including those arising from business interruption, delayed commissioning, product defects, breach of duty by the management and compliance incidents, and is considered ‘an absolute leader in this field’. Founding partner, ‘excellent tactician’ and ‘flexible thinker’ Mark Wilhelm regularly handles instructions on complex liability and D&O procedures, and Fabian Herdter, who has ‘an analytical and creative’ approach ‘provides strong arguments’, focuses on financial lines insurance. Senior associate and expert in liability and machinery and assembly insurance Christian Becker joined Eversheds Sutherland as counsel. Andreas Shell, previously global head of claims at Allianz Global, joined as counsel.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP has particular expertise in liability and D&O proceedings involving regulatory issues and in another key area of focus, the team led by Marc Zimmerling also defends against liability claims made against tax and accounting firms. Its client portfolio includes German and international insurers alongside financial sector companies.
bock legal Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten
Noted for its ‘extremely high standards’, bock legal Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten acts for several well-known national and international insurance groups such as Gothaer, HDI-Gerling, Ergo and R + V, which the team regularly represents in contentious D&O and E&O proceedings. Stefan Bank, who provides ‘competent advice on liability matters and is pleasant to work with’, recently acted as coverage counsel for Allianz in proceedings pertaining to the delayed filing of Siag’s insolvency against ten board members and managing directors. Dirk Schmitz, who is praised for his ‘technical know-how’, represented prospectus insurers in insolvency-related proceedings against investors and insolvency administrators. Ulrike Müller and Silke Rohnfelder were appointed counsel and Daniel Al-Hami made associated partner.
Dr. Eick & Partner Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB
Insurance companies routinely call on Dr. Eick & Partner Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB to assist with personal, property and indemnity insurance matters but the practice also has expertise in the motor vehicle and medical liability sectors alongside construction and architecture-related work; Hermann Schumacher is the main contact for construction and architecture sector matters. Michael Burmann and Rainer Heß are noted and Simone Hensen was promoted to the partnership at the start of 2018.
Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner
Acting for clients in D&O and manager liability procedures is a central pillar of Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner’s practice, which is noted for its ‘very quick, precise and practical advice’ and ‘strong commitment’ at ‘fair prices’. The eight-strong team is jointly led by Tobias Lenz and Carsten Laschet and acts for several well-known German and international insurers.
Taylor Wessing’s client roster includes household-name national and international insurance groups including AXA and Chubb European, for which it regularly assists with coverage and recovery proceedings following major claims. Franz Janssen represented Provinzial Rheinland Versicherung in coverage and liability redress proceedings involving property, personal and financial losses, while the team also handled matters pertaining to a major claim concerning the construction of a luxury hotel building for Schloss Elmau. Team head Gunbritt Kammerer-Galahn has a specialism in D&O, liability, accident and residual debt insurance. Jan Andresen made salary partner. Tessa Schoof left the firm.
Thümmel, Schütze & Partner
Insurance companies frequently instruct Thümmel, Schütze & Partner with liability and fidelity insurance matters and benefit from the team’s D&O expertise, while it is also expierenced in acting as monitoring, coverage and defence counsel for directors and managing directors alongside supervisory board members. Roderich Thümmel, Jens Haubold and Franck Schmidt-Husson are the key contacts.
With a specialism in financial sector work and substantial corporate expertise, the team at White & Case LLP regularly handles D&O liability and coverage matters, which frequently include cross-border elements, while also having experience in dealing with cyber risk matters. In a significant matter, the team is defending a Berlin-based private bank against damage claims amounting to millions pertaining to a co-operation agreement in the life insurance sector with a large French insurance company; this was jointly led by the ‘solution-oriented and responsive’ Christian Wirth and counsel Ulrich Carlhoff. Sara Vanetta was made local partner.
Glauber & Partner
Representing insurance groups including HDI Versicherung, Mecklenburgische Versicherung and Kravag Versicherung in liability and insurance law disputes constitutes a central pillar of Glauber & Partner’s practice, which is also well versed in handling product design and general contractual matters. Name partner Jan Glauber and Britta Hannemann are recommended.
The opening of Ince’s Cologne office in 2016, its second German office alongside Hamburg, is now bearing fruit. The ‘very well-versed and solution-oriented’ team focuses on assisting liability insurers and reinsurers with coverage matters and on liability defence work. It also has expertise in product liability matters in the pharmaceutical, life sciences and food industries as well as energy sector-related property and technical insurance issues. The practice also acts as D&O monitoring counsel.
Meschkat & Nauert
‘Highly experienced’ boutique firm Meschkat & Nauert provides ‘a very high level of service’ and is also praised for its ‘very good communication skills, timely advice and commercial approach’. The team specialises in representing medium-sized companies in contentious damage and liability proceedings against insurers, while also frequently acting against suppliers and other responsible parties in regress proceedings. Norbert Meschkat is also well versed in assisting insurance companies and handles property insurance recourse proceedings alongside liability insurance mandates pertaining to architects, engineers and environmental matters, while Ralf Nauert focuses on general liability issues, motor vehicle liability insurance, medical liability and medical damage issues as well as industrial liability, D&O, product and employer’s liability insurance work.
PATZINA LOTZ Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB
Patzina Lotz Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB is considered as ‘one of the best firms in the financial loss liability insurance sector’. The team represents a medium-sized auditing company in eleven damage claims arising from prospectus liability claims. In the D&O space, Reinhard Patzina represented a former supervisory board in proceedings pertaining to a failed capital increase in 2016 and to borrowing at unfavourable terms. It also has experience acting for solicitors: the ‘highly knowledgeable’ René Matz represented a partner of an international firm against a community of heirs in a succession settlement dispute.