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Directors and Officers Insurance

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What is directors and officers insurance?

Being a director or officer of a business brings responsibilities. Directors and officer’s insurance sometimes referred to as D&O insurance, or management liability cover can help to protect business leaders from claims brought against them.

As a business director, you can be held personally responsible for actions taken by the company. This is the case even if you no longer hold the position. If somebody or an organisation decide that the business has acted negligently, for example, or caused damage, they can bring a claim against the business, but also personally against the directors too.

Many directors choose to protect themselves against this risk by taking out insurance cover.

What types of claim can be brought against directors and officers?

The definition of what counts as an ‘officer’ can be vague. Generally speaking, anyone who holds a senior leadership position in an organisation could be held personally liable if a claim were to be brought.

The types of liability your business might face include:

  • Employment claims
  • Negligence claims
  • Health and safety claims
  • Manslaughter charges
  • Breach of trust
  • Defamation
  • Environmental damage or pollution
  • Wrongful trading, e.g. trading whilst bankrupt

What does directors and officer’s insurance cover?

Directors and officer’s insurance will pay out to cover the cost of any legal defence if a claim is brought against you.

For example, if you are taken to court by a claimant and ordered to pay compensation or damages, then your directors and officers insurance policy should cover the cost of this compensation.

If you are ordered to pay a fine, for example for a breach of health and safety policy, this cost would be covered by your insurance too.

Why is directors and officers insurance important?

Most of us would assume that decisions made during the course of employment would become a matter for the company if anything were to go wrong. However, as claims can be brought at a personal level against individuals, it is important to make sure you are covered.

The legal definition of a director is clear, however in law, the definition of what makes someone an ‘officer’ is very vague. Even if your job title does not contain the word, you could still be judged to be accountable and be open to the risk of a personal claim being made against you.

Settling claims of this nature can be extremely expensive, so it is important to know that you are covered against this risk.

 

Directors and officers insurance FAQs

Q – How much does directors and officer’s insurance cost?

A – There are many things which affect the cost of directors and officers’ insurance policy. The size and scale of the business you work for is one. Cost is also affected by the nature of the work you do – some sectors involve a greater degree of risk than others. Insurers will also use the length of time you have been in your post to calculate the costs. Always shop around and compare quotes from different insurers, to find a deal that is right for you.

Q – What is not covered by directors’ and officers’ insurance?

A – Usually, this type of policy will only cover you for claims made against you as an individual. Claims brought against the company as a whole would not be covered by directors and officer’s insurance.

Q – Is management liability insurance the same as directors’ and officers’ insurance?

A – While there are many similarities between directors’ and officers’ insurance, and management liability insurance, they are not necessarily the same. Management liability insurance will usually combine the benefits of both company and personal insurance. Check with your provider to see which type of cover is best for your personal circumstances.

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