With offices in Zurich, Geneva and, since 2020, Bern, gbf Attorneys-at-law Ltd acts mainly for insurance and re-insurance carriers on both contentious and non-contentious matters. The ‘incredible’ team has ‘profound expertise in insurance contract and insurance supervision law’ and drafts business plans in order to obtain licences to conduct insurance business in the Swiss market, advises on portfolio transfers, M&A transactions and restructurings. Contentious matters include third party claims against the insureds of insurer clients and coverage disputes. Lars Gerspacher, Dominik Skrobala and Clemens von Zedtwitz in Zurich, and Nando Stauffer von May in the Bern office are the key names.
Insurance in Switzerland
Lars Gerspacher; Dominik Skrobala; Clemens von Zedtwitz; Nando Stauffer von May
‘Deep knowledge of insurance law, both from regulatory and contractual perspective, combined with a very solid understanding of commercial realities their clients are facing which allows them to come up with results-driven solutions to complex problems.’
‘Clemens von Zedtwitz is always approachable and a great “sparing-partner” to openly exchange on and discuss legal topics and efficient solutions on an equal footing.’
‘Very reliable, experienced, solution oriented.’
‘They have profound knowledge regarding all questions of insurance law. React fast and in a highly useful way. Everything was always satisfying.’
‘Dominik Skrobala and Nando Stauffer von May they get to the point very quickly due to their broad knowledge.’
‘Clemens von Zedtwitz is a dedicated and knowledgeable lawyer, easy to work with and very approachable. I have only good experiences with Clemens von Zedtwitz.’
‘Very skilled and experienced team for insurance contract law. Pragmatic, supportive and highly responsive.’
‘Clemens von Zedtwitz is certainly one of Switzerland’s leading insurance contract lawyers. Yet, he acts with pragmatism and a strong sense for business needs. Very supportive and reliable.’
‘Specialized law firm for marine insurance.’
‘Clemens von Zedtwitz is among the top five in Switzerland in the fields of liability and insurance law, with a rich list of publications. Lars Gerspacher is one of the two top marine insurance law experts in Switzerland, and also an excellent operator in court.’
‘Profound expertise in insurance contract and insurance supervision law.’
‘Clemens von Zedwitz is an absolute expert for Swiss insurance and reinsurance law.’
‘It is an incredible team. Nice people, experienced, hands-on and specialised.’
‘Clemens von Zedtwitz is highly capable, an academic of highest reputation and an incredibly nice guy to work with.’
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
AXA Corporate Solutions
AXA Assurances SA
Helvetia Insurance Co.
Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd advises clients on all matters relating to the establishment and regulation of insurers, re-insurers and the relevant portfolios. Contentious matters include defence work under all lines of liability insurance programmes as well as fraud defence, with a particular focus on litigation in multiple jurisdictions. Practice head Alexander von Ziegler advises national and international insurers on cover disputes as well as regulatory issues. Olivier Favre is experienced in regulatory requirements for inbound cross-border insurance business to the Swiss market, group insurance products and the setting-up and licensing of Swiss direct insurance companies. Tarek Houdrouge is a key contact in the Geneva office.
Alexander von Ziegler
Other key lawyers:
Olivier Favre; Tarek Houdrouge
- Advised a company on the set-up of a brokerage business in Switzerland.
- Advised a major insurance company on the regulatory aspects of cross-border insurance products.
- Provided advice and assistance to a major transport company regarding insurance products.
Bär & Karrer Ltd. has particular strengths in advising its clients in the insurance and re-insurance sector on M&A and financing transactions, such as asset transfers, share deals, mergers, voluntary group restructuring transactions and portfolio transfers. The team makes use of the broad service offering of the firm to provide cross-disciplinary support. Practice head Peter Hsu advises domestic and foreign insurers and re-insurers as well as insurance intermediaries; he is also specialised in insurance supervisory law.
‘A truly multidisciplinary approach, skilfully coordinated by Peter Hsu.’
‘Peter Hsu is a very knowledgeable generalist in insurance supervisory questions. Very supportive and remaining calm even under high pressure.’
‘Deep financial services experience and understanding of complex transactions.’
‘Peter Hsu is very responsive and he and his team provide quality work product.’
Zurich Insurance Group
AON Schweiz AG
Marsh AG/Mercer (Switzerland) AG
CSS Versicherung AG
- Assisted CSS in the sale of its corporate business to Zurich Insurance Company Ltd/Switzerland (“ZIC”).
- Assisted AON Schweiz AG, a leading global service provider for risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokers as well as adviser on human resources, with the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Assimedia SA, an all-branch insurance broker based in Locarno, Switzerland.
- Advised Swiss Re on the update of its $10bn debt issuance programme and the offering of €800m guaranteed subordinated notes and of €350m guaranteed subordinated notes.
CMS’s insurance practice has a specialisation in representing insurance and re-insurance companies in proceedings before arbitration tribunals and state courts, in particular in connection with coverage disputes, as well as representing them in all matters relating to supervisory law when dealing with authorities. The team further advises on regulatory and tax matters as well as restructuring issues, and drafts and reviews insurance and re-insurance policies. The 'very reliable and experienced' Jodok Wicki heads the team and is a certified specialist of the Swiss Bar Association for torts and insurance law.
‘Well organised team.’
‘Kaspar Landolt and Jodok Wicki are very reliable and experienced.’
‘CMS’s financial services practice group covers a wide array of transactions. The cooperation is effective, pragmatic and supportive.’
- Defended a bank in litigation concerning a very large damages claim in the wake of the Euro crisis as monitoring counsel and in interim settlement discussions. The district court as well as the court of appeals dismissed the claim in full.
- Advised an international multi-line insurance company on liability and coverage relating to claims against a business travel organiser following a plane crash in Russia.
- Advised an international insurance and re-insurance group regarding the coordination of different treaty reinsurance policies and aggregation of claims.
Kellerhals Carrard has a strong reputation for the resolution of insurance law disputes, acting for domestic and international insurers, policyholders and brokers on all issues regarding liability and coverage, often achieving ‘outstanding results in litigation’. The team, consisting of a number of partners and lawyers focusing primarily on insurance and re- insurance law, further advises on the design of insurance products as well as regulatory and supervisory matters. Christoph Frey, Pascal Grolimund, Thomas Eichenberger, Nicolas Gillard and Ivan Paparelli head the Zurich, Basel, Berne, Lausanne and Lugano offices respectively.
Christoph Frey; Pascal Grolimund; Thomas Eichenberger; Nicolas Gillard; Ivan Paparelli
‘Very personal and customer-oriented legal service provider. Extremely efficient support with outstanding results in litigation and well-rounded and to the point work products.’
‘Christoph Frey with his team of Matthias Spinner and Anna Menzi provide an outstanding and very broad palette of legal support. Minimal instruction effort leads nevertheless to optimal outcome.’
KPT Versicherungen AG
Visana Services AG
Chubb Insurance (Switzerland) Limited
- Acted for a luxury-goods company against a major insurance company in a coverage dispute valued at $100m.
- Represented three former board members in a multibillion-dollar D&O litigation.
- Represented Visana Services AG in a dispute before the Federal Administrative Court valued at CHF15m.
With Lenz & Staehelin’s insurance practice being closely linked to the banking and finance, capital markets and corporate and M&A departments of the firm, the team not only advises traditional clients from the insurance sector, such as insurers, re-insurers and life insurers, but also intermediaries, private equity and venture capital funds as well as banks and other financial institutions on insurance-related issues. The firm covers a broad range of services, including regulatory, transactional, coverage and dispute resolution. In particular, the team, headed by Olivier Stahler and Lukas Morscher, has substantial experience of portfolio transfers, M&A transactions, restructurings and re-domiciliations.
Olivier Stahler; Lukas Morscher
Caterpillar Insurance Company
Schweizerische Mobiliar Versicherungsgesellschaft AG
Unilever Reinsurance AG
Vaudoise Assurances Holding SA
- Advised the global reinsurer TransRe on the cross-border redomiciliation of its Swiss subsidiary TransRe Zurich Ltd. to Luxembourg, specifically assisted with the corporate, regulatory and tax aspects.
- Advised a global insurance company on the cross-border provisioning of services to its regulated Swiss insurance subsidiary.
- Advised a global industrial company on the restructuring of its intra-group service provisioning to its insurance division.
Prager Dreifuss AG advises on a multitude of insurance related matters, from regulatory issues and representing clients before authorities to acting as counsel for national and international insurance and re-insurance companies, but with a particularly strong focus on dispute resolution before federal courts or arbitration tribunals. The team is regularly involved in high-profile insurance and reinsurance investigations and disputes. Practice head Christoph Graber has particular specialisations in banking and financial services as well as D&O, product liability, aviation and maritime insurance.
‘Pragmatic and well-structured approach in resolving liability disputes.’
‘Christoph Graber is a highly respected and experienced trial lawyer with a strong solution orientation.’
‘Andrea Stäubli has become a major asset as well. Highly knowledgeable and efficient.’
‘Prager Dreifuss is a unique mid-size law firm in Zurich, Switzerland which is big enough to take on any legal challenge, inclusive of the most complex disputes (litigation and/or arbitration) but at the same time small enough to keep a human dimension with a “boutique” touch and a total focus on the client and its needs. The firm holds a specialized team of insurance and re-insurance lawyers led by Christoph Graber. This team is solely dedicated to representing and defending their clients’ interests in insurance and re-insurance related matters, making it probably one of – if not the most – specialised team amongst the leading Swiss law firms. Prager Dreifuss’s insurance team provides advice in all insurance and reinsurance relevant topics and is able to represent its client’s interest in any dispute before any Swiss Court or in national or international arbitration proceedings. The team is available “around the clock” and totally dedicated to its clients cases, even if this means working long days on these inclusive of a couple of consecutive weekends because of a tight deadline.’
‘Christoph Graber is a highly seasoned, experienced and respected insurance lawyer with an extended track record. He is also a very respected scholar in the area of Swiss insurance law (e. g. his contribution to the “Basler Kommentar” the standard work on Swiss Insurance Law). Andrea Stäubli and Reto Jenny are both highly skilled insurance lawyers with a brilliant academical background, dynamic, young and at the same already very experienced. Together with Christoph Graber they make one of the best insurance lawyers teams I have ever worked with.’
‘The team‘s members have excellent academic backgrounds, and contribute to legal commentaries and law journals on a regular basis.’
- Advised one of the biggest insurance companies regarding various coverage issues relating to epidemics insurance and travel insurance in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Acted on behalf of one of the biggest insurance companies in relation to a dispute of recourse in connection with a deep heat mining project.
- Advised one of the biggest insurance companies with regard to a new insurance product for a new construction method, IPD (integrated project delivery) / lean construction.
VISCHER's core strength lies in representing insurance companies and brokers in coverage litigation matters pertaining to, among others, D&O liabilities, crime policies, property policies and financial line policies. The group also assists its insurance clients with regulatory matters and corporate issues and also represents insured parties in covered disputes under the respective insurance policy. Practice head Daniele Favalli has experience of assisting Swiss insurance companies and their insureds as foreign counsel in cross-jurisdictional matters. Tina Jäger is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘The pro-active, forward thinking approach in problem solving and strategy is highly valued and very helpful in advising tactical approaches in disputes and potential litigations.’
Baker McKenzie handles contentious and non-contentious matters including contractual and regulatory matters. The team advises on run-offs of insurance portfolios, transactions for insurance and re-insurance carriers and compliance proceedings. Insurance and re-insurance coverage disputes and regulatory advice is often provided in an cross-border context, where the firm can make use of its ‘very valuable’ international network. Practice head Joachim Frick advises international insurance and re-insurance clients and brokers. Associate Markus Winkler is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘The international network is very valuable.’
‘Rich practical experience, transactional pragmatism and profound knowledge.’
‘It’s a great pleasure to work with Joachim Frick.’
As part of the firm’s wider banking and finance and competition and regulatory teams, the insurance practice at Homburger is able to provide clients comprehensive advice on a variety of topics, ranging from capital market transactions to IP and data protection issues as well as disputes and investigations. The team has particular strengths in advising insurance companies on tax matters. Practice head Hansjürg Appenzeller is specialised in advising insurance and re-insurance companies on regulatory, licensing and compliance matters as well as transactions.
- Advised Zurich Insurance Company on its acquisition of the Corporate Accident & Health Portfolio of CSS Versicherung.
- Advised Helvetia on matters related to its regulatory capital.
- Represented Helsana in its dispute with the Swiss data protection authority.
Pestalozzi advises national and international insurers on a variety of matters and has particular experience of insurance M&A transactions as well as regulatory work. The team regularly acts as the Swiss legal representative of major insurers, covering all relevant areas both in insurance and re-insurance, as well as drafting re-insurance policies. Practice head Christoph Lang is specialised in insurance and M&A, frequently advising clients on governance and policy issues. Beat Schwarz is experienced in insurance contracts and insurance regulatory work.
Other key lawyers:
Beat Schwartz; Thomas Rohner
‘We have dealt a lot with Beat Schwarz who has been outstanding in his flexibility, speed of responses and suggestions of the best way to proceed.’
‘Very responsive, including out of hours. Very technically knowledgeable and quick to suggest commercial solutions. Have found them more willing to commit to advising on potential solutions rather than just relying on strict law or ask the regulator than some other firms.’
‘In Insurance law, Pestalozzi is the leader of the pack in Switzerland. They have an outstanding team that is able to address any insurance law issue while following a pronounced commercial approach. Especially their in-depth legal expertise and experience are impressive as is their huge attention to detail. They are completely reliable, trustworthy and absolutely committed to delivering best results. Also, their availability and responsiveness makes them stand out from the market.’
‘Thomas Rohner is a superb insurance law expert and a highly regarded colleague, especially in D&O matters. He is on top of every detail of even the most complex cases but also always has the bigger picture in sight. He has extraordinary depth of legal expertise and entrepreneurial thinking which makes him a first-rate counsel and great strategist. Extremely strong and professional in negotiations and litigation he continues to prove his calm in any given circumstance as well as his excellent communication skills. I absolutely trust his judgement.’
Credit Suisse Insurance Linked Strategies AG
Hyperion Insurance Group
The Prudential Insurance Company of America
- Advised AXIS in the 2020 business renewal, in particular the negotiation and drafting of all reinsurance treaties written out of the Zurich office.
- Advised and supported AXA XL’s Swiss operations on all ongoing matters, including by way of secondments.
- Advised Swiss Life on various corporate, transactional and insurance M&A matters.
Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte’s client base consists primarily of insurance companies which the firm advises predominantly on the areas of insurance, liability, private insurance and supervisory law as well as pension plans. Practice head Martin Bürkle is experienced in all areas of insurance law with a particular focus on claims management and assisting insurance companies with coverage, risk and settlements as a Swiss Bar Association-certified specialist in tort and insurance law.
‘Martin Bürkle has a profound knowledge in the legal accident insurance of Switzerland. The personal contact with him is very pleasant and uncomplicated. It is a big value that we can discuss with him cases on a very high professional level and we have a very good success rate at the courts, where he stands in for our positions.’
‘The relationship between Martin Bürkle and me has grown to a really big interdependent trust. He always does a very good job and is worth what he brings to account. The technical input is on the highest level I know within this special insurance sector.’
Wartmann & Merker is a boutique law firm highly focused on dispute resolution. As such it represents various clients from the insurance industry as well as companies and individuals in claims regarding insurance issues, such as D&O matters, indemnity claims or liability insurances. Giovanna Montanaro heads the team and is experienced in litigation and arbitration of insurance law matters, often cross-border, and in particular for the trade and transport sectors.