Changing regulatory and legal environment ‘creating new risks for executives’

Changes in the way that companies and authorities interact mean that traditional directors and officers (D&O) insurance products may no longer provide executives with the protection now required, reports Marsh.

The insurance broking and risk management advisory group says that as regulators and prosecutors increasingly seek to hold individuals in senior management personally accountable for ‘corporate wrongdoing,’ there is increased pressure for companies to investigate internal conduct and report any findings to authorities.

Companies that cooperate in this way may be able to enter into agreements that reduce or remove corporate liability for reportable conduct. While this cooperation reduces the company’s liability, individuals may be left exposed to criminal charges and regulatory discipline.

“The questioning of the legality of the conduct of executives now proceeds differently than it has in the past,” said Leslie Kurshan, head of product development for the financial and professional (FINPRO) practice at Marsh UK.

“Increasingly, investigators working for the company gather evidence on the conduct of its employees, directors, and officers in cooperation with regulators and prosecutors, or in anticipation of reporting the conduct to them to head off a more formal enforcement agency inquiry.

“Traditional D&O liability insurance policies provide cover when a legal proceeding is served, or a formal investigation commences, but generally include few scenarios where an individual is investigated by his or her own organisation. In the current environment, individuals may need legal assistance before these traditional policies would respond.”

In response the group has enhanced Marsh Alpha, a D&O cover available for both private and public companies that it has developed with underwriting provided by a panel of insurers in the Lloyd’s of London market.

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