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Directors & Officers and Management Liability - What you need to know

While you have the business insured for property damage and public liability, it’s also important to ensure that your personal liability as a director or a manager is also insured, Directors & Officers (D&O) or Management Liability insurance provides this cover.
Managers and directors are increasingly exposed to personal lawsuits from actual or alleged workplace harassment (Employment Practices liability), mismanagement, pollution/ environmental contamination, WH&S breaches and WorkCover investigations.
D&O and Management Liability insurance pays your personal legal costs, as well as paying for any damages awarded against you personally for either an actual or alleged act in relation to the performance of work-related duties and responsibilities. This policy will also reimburse costs related to the company for tax audit costs, fraud related losses and loss due to employee theft.
Without insurance in place, directors, managers and senior staff can be exposed to significant personal legal costs in defending an action, in addition to any damages awarded if found to have been at fault. These amounts can easily range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, a significant financial burden for most people.
So, what does D&O Management Liability insurance cover, who can benefit from this type of insurance and how can it help your business?
What does D&O Management Liability insurance cover?
D&O and Management Liability insurance covers all past, present and future directors, officers and senior staff (i.e. line managers or supervisors) against claims of actual or alleged wrongful acts, errors or omissions in the performance of their work duties. This policy provides cover for managers personal legal costs, which the company may not want to pay for, due to the allegations, investigation or inquiry costs and expenses. If the company does pay for the personal legal costs of a director or manager, plus any damages awarded, the insurance will automatically reimburse the company for these costs (Company Reimbursement cover).   
It should also be noted that fraud is not covered under business insurance policies, so it’s important to have this covered under a D&O or Management liability policy. Business policies cover burglaries or theft due to a break-in only.
It’s also important to understand that Professional Indemnity insurance does not cover the same issues as D&O and Management Liability insurance. Professional Indemnity covers financial loss, including financial damages caused to a third party as a result of following negligent professional advice.
So, Management liability covers internal losses to the business, whereas Professional Indemnity covers losses to external customers (third parties) of the business, related to actual or alleged negligent professional advice.

Management Liability insurance is designed to provide protection to both the business and its directors or officers for claims of wrongful acts in the management of the business.

A business insurance pack can provide cover for your business premises and contents, against loss, damage, theft or financial loss from an insured interruption to the business.

Purchase up to six products under one Business Insurance Package. 

So, Management liability covers internal losses to the business, whereas Professional Indemnity covers losses to external customers (third parties) of the business, related to actual or alleged negligent professional advice.
Who can benefit from D&O Management Liability insurance?
Whilst directors, managers and senior staff may follow policies and procedures, accidents and mistakes can still happen. Employees can overlook or miss important safety rules, resulting in injuries or even death or money or goods can go missing or be stolen.
Under workplace laws, directors and senior managers are personally responsible for injuries at the workplace. In some states and territories, these include criminal actions, with jail sentences and personal fines.
How can your business benefit from D&O Management Liability insurance?
Litigation can come from employees, financiers, government regulators in your industry or shareholders. Examples include breach of duty, defamation, misrepresentation, breach of contract, discrimination, negligence, inaccurate reporting, bullying, harassment, unfair dismissal and occupational health and safety incidents. Fraud including theft by employees or contractors, fake payments, forged cheques/ eft transfers and embezzlement. Essentially, this insurance protects directors, officers and senior management, as well as the business against investigation and legal costs, court awarded damages and other financial losses.
Speaking to a professional insurance adviser
This is where your insurance adviser is an invaluable asset. Given that no two businesses are alike and nor are their risks, your D&O or Management Liability insurance will need to be customised to meet your own personal and business risks. Insurance advisers are trained professionals with expertise in advising on insurable risks in your industry or profession.
You can work with them to explain the insurance options available, discuss the most appropriate insurance policy and costs, then put the most appropriate insurance cover into place. This will ensure your directors, officers and senior management have peace of mind in that they are supported in day-to-day decision making and management.
If you want professional advice in tailoring a D&O or Management Liability insurance for your business, talk to an insurance professional today and find your local adviser.
General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.

All information above has been provided by the author.

Robert Huntley, Everest Risk Group Pty Ltd, AFSL 240549

This article originally appeared on Insurance Advisernet News and has been published here with permission.

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