What is directors and officers insurance?
Directors and officers (D&O) cover, also known as management liability, exists to protect entrepreneurs from the risks associated with running a business. It is available for businesses of any size, whether it’s a small startup or a large organisation. Directors and officers liability insurance gives your management team peace of mind, knowing they are covered if they are held personally liable for a business decision.
- Worldwide cover
- Major shareholder claims
- Regulatory events
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Benefits of our directors and officers insurance
Essential for companies looking for external funding
It’s common for investors interested in a company to make D&O insurance a must-have requirement. This protects directors and officers from allegations of mismanagement. D&O cover provides protection against legal action, fines, penalties, and disqualifications from being a director.
Protection from 3 angles
D&O cover provides 3-sided protection. One side covers directors personally for fines, penalties and legal expenses. The second reimburses the company for paying on behalf of the directors. And the last covers the company should it itself be named in the lawsuit.
PI isn’t enough on its own
It's a common misconception that personal liability claims are covered under a professional indemnity or general liability policy. But this is unlikely. A separate D&O policy is the only way to guarantee personal protection for those with management responsibility in your business.
What does directors and officers insurance cover?
Who is directors and officers insurance for?
If your directors or management team have legal or regulatory responsibilities to employees, the public, regulators, investors or other directors, then D&O liability insurance should be considered. It is particularly important for companies who have raised or who are seeking investment from external shareholders. All firms that fall under the Senior Managers Certification Regime (SMCR) have an increased risk in making sure they act appropriately. D&O is even more relevant for these firms as it ensures your employees are covered if they unintentionally run afoul of their regulatory responsibilities.
What types of claims does directors and officers insurance cover?
D&O personal liability claims can cover a whole range of issues, from breaching health and safety laws, allegations of cyber-bullying, to misrepresentations in a pitch deck, or errors in financial reporting.
Things to consider when choosing directors & officers cover
If you have shareholders that own 15% or more of the company then check for a “major shareholder exclusion” – this effectively excludes any claim brought by a shareholder against the business that owns 15% or more of the company’s shares. And should you have shareholders, business activities or contracts with North American jurisdiction, make sure your jurisdiction allows for worldwide claims. Another thing is to make sure your limit is high enough as many D&O plans have an aggregate limit, meaning another director/officer could use it up should a claim be made – leaving you exposed.
What to watch out for
It's key to remember that directors and officers insurance only covers claims in connection with how the business is governed - not the business activities it carries out. You may also need public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance to protect the company as a whole.
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Directors and officers FAQs
Directors and officers insurance is not only suitable for company directors, but also for all people in supervisory positions, effectively anybody who has legal or regulatory responsibilities to employees, the public, regulators, investors or other directors. It’s especially important for people in charge of publicly listed companies and those looking for funding, as most investors will look favourably upon founders who take their responsibilities, and the risks they face, seriously.
No matter how many companies you’re involved in, you’ll be covered for your activities within all of them, as long as you provide this information at the moment of taking out your policy. And if your responsibilities increase at a later date this is easy to change with our pay-by-the-month subscription. Just give us a call and we can update your policy and advise you on any changes to the cost.
It doesn’t matter how big or small a share you hold in a company. If you have management responsibilities, particularly if they’re of a legal or regulatory nature, then you should consider D&O.
Selling your shares in a company may or may not affect the level of D&O cover you need. However, whenever your role or position changes, you should always let us know to ensure your policy is up-to-date.
Customise your cover
To simplify things, we've categorised our covers into three groups: essential covers, professional covers, and management covers. You'll be guided through these different options during the quotation process.
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Authorised by the FCA
The FCA supervises UK financial services firms to protect consumers. We are directly authorised and regulated by the FCA and our Firm Reference Number is 656459. These details can be confirmed on the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk or by calling the FCA on 0845 606 1234.