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Our team advises market leading, internationally operating insurance companies on their business, compliance and the provision of services in this highly regulated sector.

Bernitsas Law’s expertise spans regulatory, disputes, M&A and contractual matters

The Legal 500 EMEA 2017

We advise on commercial and regulatory issues arising in the course of our clients’ day-to-day business and also represent them in corporate transactions arising in this sector. We work on an ongoing basis for several leading insurers and reinsurers, as well as for local and foreign insurance and reinsurance intermediaries.

Insurance Contracts & Commercial Agreements

We have extensive experience in advising on the preparation and negotiation of insurance contracts, as well as drafting insurance policy terms and conditions. We evaluate and audit coverage in contracts and draft bancassurance, joint venture, agency, outsourcing and other commercial agreements. We also work with our Employment department to advise on pension plans within employment contracts.

Corporate & M&A Transactions

We have assisted clients in formulating, negotiating and finalising bancassurance undertakings in the context of complex corporate transactions. We have also acted and provided regulatory and corporate advice in relation to mergers, acquisitions, restructurings and insolvencies of insurance companies and transfers of insurance businesses and portfolios, including cross-border transactions.

Corporate Advisory & Compliance

Our team also has a substantial practice advising insurance companies and financial services providers on compliance with the legislative structure and regulatory framework governing insurance providers and intermediaries and managing the associated risks. We provide our clients with a wide range of day-to-day legal support services, and advise insurance companies on terminations of employment, voluntary exits, social security issues and transfers of undertakings related issues. We assist with corporate governance issues and advise on the provision of insurance services and financial products, as well as on issues such as industry specific advertising, distribution and data protection and also advise on the establishment of insurance companies or local subsidiaries of multinational providers and new authorisations.

Insurance Disputes

We are experienced in representing clients in relation to high value insurance litigation arising in this sector. These include disputes relating to coverage, claims distributions, the interpretation of contractual documentation, regulatory enforcement and disputes arising from insolvencies and relationships with intermediaries.

Who to contact

Contact Lambros
Contact Evi

Recognitions

Sale of Eurolife

We advised Eurobank Ergasias (Eurobank) in connection with the structuring and execution of an international competitive private auction process for the sale of 80% of its Greek and Romanian life and non-life insurance operations grouped under Eurolife ERB Insurance Group Holdings (Eurolife), as well as on the negotiation and execution of final transaction documentation with the winning bidder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, against €316m in cash.

Advice to CNP Group of Companies

We advise the local entities of the CNP Group of Companies, including its insurance companies, on a day to day basis, advising on their corporate bookkeeping, regulatory issues, commercial and litigation matters.

Bancassurance Agreements

We advised Eurobank in their entry into bancassurance agreements with the Greek and Romanian life and non-life insurance subsidiaries of Eurolife and the adjustment of such agreements contemporaneously with the sale of Eurobank’s 80% sale of Eurolife.

AXA Acquisition of Alpha Insurance

We acted on behalf of AXA in the context of its acquisition of Alpha Insurance SA, an important player in the local insurance industry. We continue to advise the AXA affiliate in Greece in relation to corporate matters as well as regulatory issues.

Association of Insurance Companies Council of State Dispute

We represented the Association of Insurance Companies of Greece and 14 Insurance Companies (including NN, AXA, Metlife and Allianz) before the Council of State in relation to an application aiming to overturn legislation under which insurance companies are no longer required to pay contributions to the Subsidiary Insurance Fund for the Personnel of Insurance Companies in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the Greek Government and the Troika as part of the Economic Adjustment Programme.

Life Insurance Damages Claims Dispute

We are advising the subsidiary of a leading European insurance company in complaints and damages claims relating to life insurance products sold in the Greek market brought against it in the aftermath of the Cypriot banking crisis. The first decision issued in this matter is in favour of our client.

Tax Advice in Insurance Sector

We advised a leading French multinational insurance group on the direct and indirect tax implications of restructuring its European activities, involving the registration of a branch in Greece and contributions to some local operations in accordance with EU tax incentive legislation on cross – border restructurings.

Tax Treatment of Life Insurance Products

We are advising a multinational insurance company on the corporate tax implications and Greek tax treatment of life insurance contracts offered under the freedom to provide services rules and applied for by Greek tax residents.

  • setting up new insurance companies and establishment of local branches of EU based insurance companies
  • regulatory framework governing insurance providers, intermediaries and provision of insurance services
  • legal and regulatory issues deriving from the application and local implementation of the Solvency II Directive (2009/138/EC)
  • distribution of insurance products and related regulatory issues
  • corporate governance and compliance issues for insurance companies
  • policy wording and interpretation
  • drafting insurance contracts, insurance provisions and related documentation
  • agency and brokerage agreements
  • mergers and acquisitions and transfers of insurance businesses and portfolios
  • acquisition of insurance companies by foreign investors
  • financial products available for investment in the insurance sector
  • issues arising in the day to day operation of insurance companies
  • insurance litigation