Increase in IPOs Causing Surge for D&O Coverage Says Marsh

October 29, 2009

According to a bulletin from Marsh’s London office the “increase in the number of companies considering an initial public offering (IPO) or general capital raising is behind a surge in interest in taking out directors’ and officers’ liability and specialist transaction insurance.”

Matthew Rolph, a managing director in Marsh’s Financial and Professional Practice, commented: “The global financial crisis has had a lasting impact on the risks faced by individuals within corporations when approaching investors. As capital markets stabilize, many organizations are beginning to look at a potential listing or secondary offering. They are also now considering acquisitions, rather than just divestments.”

He explained that “while capital from fresh investors will be welcomed, company directors know that the representations they make in any prospectus may leave them exposed to future legal recourse for non performance.” These are “increased risks,” Rolph continued, as conventional annual D&O policies normally only “cover day-to-day management liabilities.”

In addition he noted that directors are “far more sensitized to personal liability. Over the past two years, we have seen the percentage of our FTSE 100 clients taking out additional cover for directors’ personal assets – where company indemnities are uncertain – leap from 19 percent to nearly 50 percent. We expect that proportion to continue increasing.”

Not unexpectedly, Marsh said that it has “created an insurance D&O facility to address these exposures, which is available in most countries worldwide. Reflecting the potential time lines for legal action, the facility comes with a six year period of cover, equivalent to the statute of limitations in many parts of the world. Cover is available up to £200 million [$329 million].”

Rolph added: “We expect take up of this product by companies to be significant. In previous years, D&O cover for companies seeking to raise capital was regarded as an optional safety net. Furthermore, specific insurance to ring fence key management decisions was virtually non-existent. With significant returns on investment no longer seen as certain, this kind of cover has become indispensable.

“Insurance is being considered far earlier in the deal process. With the backdrop of increasing regulation, continuing market volatility and new expectations from investors, this new facility will enable directors of companies to seek capital with confidence.”

Source: Marsh – or

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