Directors and Officers have a significant role in helping to keep businesses running smoothly, but mistakes can happen. Directors and Officers Liability insurance applies to anyone who serves as a director or officer of a for-profit business or nonprofit organization. In the event that the individual within the business falls short of their obligations, this insurance is intended to protect them from personal losses if they are sued as a result. It can also cover the legal fees and other professional costs of defending yourself against such claims.
Who can sue?
- The Company
- Third Parties
- Regulatory Bodies
Directors and officers can be sued for a variety of reasons, including:
- Misrepresentation of company assets
- Misuse of company funds
- Improper disclosure
- Failure to comply with workplace laws
- Theft of intellectual property or poaching of competitor’s customers
- Lack of corporate governance
What does Directors and Officers Liability insurance policy cover?
The purpose is to provide protection for the directors and officers of the company for any alleged wrongful acts that are committed in the course of their duties. A Directors and Officers Liability Insurance Policy is comprised of two sections; officers and directors liability which pays any loss they are liable to pay and which arises from their having committed a wrongful act while acting as such. The second section refers to company reimbursement, if the company is legally liable to indemnify its directors and officers for their actions, this section will reimburse the company in respect of such liability.
Why does my business need to purchase D&O insurance cover?
Any business with a corporate board should consider investing in D&O insurance. While you may not be legally required to have D&O insurance if you are alleged to have acted wrongfully, you could face claims for compensation or criminal proceedings. Regardless of the size of your company, directors and officers can still be personally sued over their management of company affairs. Smaller businesses with fewer assets may need as much protection as larger corporations with higher revenues. There are so many decisions to be made for your business as we navigate through these uncertain times and whilst there is a wealth of professional advice out there, this won’t necessarily prevent allegations being brought against you or your business. It is for this reason that many company directors tend to have D&O cover in place.
D&O Insurers are aware that the current crisis has resulted in more claims, which is causing a hardening market. This means that insurers are likely to revise the D&O cover they provide and increase their premiums. This trend is probably going to continue for the foreseeable future so purchasing a policy now makes sense, even if your other insurance policies are not yet due for renewal.