A lot of people in the insurance business apparently think that D&O liability is primarily an American problem. Think again. Willis Group, the global insurance broker, has just published its Worldwide Directory of Directors’ and Officers’ Liability. The guide gives details of the potential personal liabilities of directors in 51 countries in Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
“It is vital for senior executives to identify and understand their liabilities when considering international expansion or acquisition activity and prior to accepting overseas board appointments,” said the announcement. “The Willis D&O team, bringing its specialist knowledge, has partnered with leading law firms around the world to bring this material together in one easy to manage reference tool.”
Willis notes that the “number of claims against Directors and Officers” is “reaching an international all-time high,” which prompted the publication of the Guide. It aims to be “an invaluable reference for senior level executives, corporate counsels, company secretaries and risk managers.”
Willis listed the main features of each chapter as follows:
— Definitions of “Director” and “Officer” (where applicable)
— Key areas to watch out for
— Who may sue Directors and Officers
— The local legality of Directors’ and Officers’ Insurance in common and codified law
— Procedural requirements
— Tax implications
— Corporate governance developments
— Key trends relating to Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance
In an “editors note” it also set out some of the more important expansions of D&O liability. These include:
— Stakeholder Rights – bond holders and others are more assertive
— Institutional Investors are becoming more aggressive in seeking individual recoveries
— Transparency & Independence – Sarbanes/Oxley, the FSA, and other regulatory bodies are seeking stricter enforcement and holding officers and directors more accountable
— Executive Remuneration – corporate stakeholders are increasingly questioning how much top executives are paid
— Increased Exposures/Changing Indemnification Rights – Companies are being asked to offer their officers and directors greater protection.
Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com. For information on purchasing the directory, interested parties should send an e-mail to D&O@willis.com. It will be available from November 1, 2005 at a cost of £150, $270 or €222.
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