Directors and company executives are held to high standards by shareholders and the courts. Legislative change and social campaigns such as the #MeToo movement have increased exposure at board level. The Australian Financial Review reported a 300% spike in D&O premiums last year in response to a “skyrocketing” number of share price-related class actions.
In this environment of intense scrutiny, ensuring that your D&O policies provide adequate coverage is an essential first step. We advise many insurers and self-insured corporate clients on coverage, appropriate policy wording and endorsements.
Our D&O team have a market-leading reputation representing insurers and directors of some of Australia and New Zealand’s largest companies. This includes regulatory investigations and individual claims, together with many of the leading D&O class actions in the market today. We also handle claims for primary and excess insurers arising internationally.
We have brought together specialist teams to advise D&O liability insurers and individual directors on situations like these:
ASX listed software company
The directors and senior managers of a newly listed ASX computer software company in relation to their directors’ duties, including their obligations under the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles.
17 Directors of a beverage company
A complicated brief involving 17 directors and officers across three ‘camps’ in proceedings brought by a beverage company relating to its $1.2 billion acquisition of a liquor distributor.
‘Trade Me’ Investigation for a real estate franchise
The Commerce Commission’s highly publicised ‘Trade Me’ investigation and civil proceedings against a director of a real estate franchise. We ran the first successful defence of an anti-competitive conduct price fixing case in New Zealand in 20 years.
Executive accountability and culpability will continue to broaden – legislators and the courts are taking a more extended view of responsibility for continuous disclosure issues, consumer business practices, occupational health and safety breaches, employment practices, as well as privacy and data security breaches particularly the growing threat from cyber attacks.
In this uncertain environment, you need a team of dispute resolution experts with the intuition and experience to defend company executives and local government officers often in very difficult personal circumstances.