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The Impact of Individual D&O – A Kapnick Case Study

By August 2, 2021August 10th, 2021Case Studies, Specialty Risk

The following is a case study based on real Kapnick clients about the impact of of insufficient D&O coverage for an individual board member and Kapnick’s collaborative, One Firm solution.

One of Kapnick’s private clients was invited to join the board of a for-profit company but was concerned that the company’s general D&O coverage did not have high enough limits. As the first line of defense (in a case involving a board member) is the company, then their D&O policy, and finally the individual director or officer. As the client did not want to risk his own hard-earned assets, he needed to explore his options. Unfortunately, the company did not have the resources to dramatically increase their limits on their D&O policy. A personal umbrella policy was also explored, but did not have the proper coverage terms.

The average reported D&O loss is $399,394, and D&O claims are up due to:

  • Securities Action Lawsuits
    | 217 cases in 2018 (20-year high)
    | Settlements up 71% from 2017 to 2018
    | Attorney fees increase 63% from 2012 to 2016
  • Social Issues, including #metoo, leadership cover-ups, hostile corporate culture and gender pay gaps
  • Cyber Security Risks

In one specific circumstance, the independent directors of a publicly traded athletic shoe and sportwear company ended up paying $40 million out of pocket after three executives admitted to fraud and drained the company’s D&O policies before the independent directors had a chance to use the policies to settle litigation.

Kapnick Risk Services and private client experts worked together to place an independent D&O policy, designed to cover losses in excess of the company’s policy. This took into account both the company’s budgetary constraints and mitigated our client’s risk, protecting his hard-earned assets.