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Shared culpability is how the legal system views directors and officers of an organisation - even non-executive directors can be held liable for the actions of other directors. Which means you could end up fighting a court battle over something your colleague did, even if you didn’t know.
The last few years have seen a rise in claims on directors’ and officers’ policies, due to more stringent governance guidelines and increased oversight by regulators.
There are plenty of insurers willing to take on this risk, the challenge is choosing the right one.
Directors’ and officers’ (D&O) liability insurance gives financial protection in the event you are sued personally. D&O protects you against claims made against you or your co-directors within the scope of your everyday business. It is there to cover you for legal costs as well as any damages.
D&O insurance is there to pay for costs relating to mounting a defence, and any damages or settlements relating to the matter. Any allegation made by a third party against a director or officer, no matter how frivolous, needs to be vigorously defended, otherwise there is a risk of judgement being entered in default of a defence.
Directors and officers can be held liable for their own actions and inactions – and the actions of their co-directors. Directors’ personal liability for the performance of a company is unlimited. If the shareholders want to sue for mismanagement, they can, and do, quite frequently.
According to claims figures from a leading D&O insurer, you need to worry about:
4 in 10 D&O claims relate to regulatory governance
3 in 10 claims arise from clients or competitors
2 in 10 claims come from disgruntled employees