America’s Best Private D&O Insurance

Market Leading - a phrase many insurance companies like to use when describing their products. But, the best way to determine true market leadership is by talking to brokers. Insurance Business America has engaged the country’s top brokers in one-on-one interviews and surveys to determine the leading Private D&O products. IBA’s inaugural Five-Star Excellence Award in Private D&O celebrates companies not only with outstanding product offerings, but also first-class broker support and industry knowledge. The Five-Star Excellence Award allows brokers to understand the partners their peers have chosen to present to clients – giving you an upper hand when selecting insurers to work with.



Determining America’s top insurance products takes a keen understanding of the market offerings – that is why IBA has enlisted the help of thousands of brokers to determine the 2021 Product Awards. Read more about how we determined our winners here.

5-Star Excellence Awards

  • Allied World Assurance Company
  • Argo
  • CFC Underwriting
  • Chubb
  • eRisk Solution
  • Markel American Insurance Company
  • RSUI
  • Travelers
  • USLI - United States Liability Insurance Group

What is private directors’ and officers’ (D&O) liability insurance?

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is designed to protect the personal assets of directors and officers if they are sued for damages stemming from actions and decisions that occurred while managing their companies. These assets include their properties, investments, and bank accounts, as well as those of their spouses. D&O insurance typically covers litigation, investigation and settlement costs resulting from a lawsuit. Most policies, however, exclude fraud and criminal offenses.


Private and public D&O policies cover the same circumstances but with a few fundamental differences. Private D&O policies provide wider coverage and are generally less expensive than public policies. The reason is that public policies have greater claims frequency primarily due to significantly larger number of stakeholders compared to private counterparts.


What does a D&O insurance policy cover?

D&O insurance covers the costs of litigation, investigation, settlement, and damages as a result of a legal action by several individuals, including current and previous employees, clients, investors, vendors, and competitors.


Coverage typically consists of three parts, namely: Side A or coverage for directors, managers, and officers as individuals, Side B or coverage for the company or business, and Side C or coverage for the entity when it is being charged with other officers or directors.


Most policies, however, do not provide coverage for fraudulent and criminal offenses, unlawful renumeration, embezzlement of money, and acts that result in personal profit.


Why is D&O insurance necessary?

While getting a D&O insurance plan is entirely voluntary, recent trends reveal that having the policy is becoming increasingly necessary. According to US Federal Courts records, as of October 1, there were almost 360 lawsuits filed against directors and officers in 2020. Of these, 63 were pandemic related.


Business magazine Forbes listed several factors pushing up the need for D&O insurance policies. These are:

  • Increasing focus on personal accountability as employees and customers become more conscious of their rights, empowering them to exercise these rights frequently.
  • Liability also increases as businesses grow and expand.
  • More investors are holding companies accountable for their actions and decisions, which influence corporate behavior.


How much D&O insurance do you need?

Several factors come into play when selecting limits for D&O insurance. Among them is the type of industry the company is in. A business operating in a highly litigious industry such as financial services will benefit from a higher limit as the aggregate limit can be eroded quickly by consecutive claims, no matter how small.


The company’s size is another aspect to consider. For small businesses, coverage limits between $1 million and $2 million might be ideal but larger corporations often take out policies ranging from $5 million to $10 million. However, the best way to figure out what policies suit your company’s operations is to talk to an experienced broker.


What is the difference between D&O and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance?

Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies cover for claims for of malpractice negligence, much like what D&O insurance does. But unlike D&O insurance, which is specifically designed for directors, officers, and others member of a company’s upper management, E&O insurance provides protection to all employees, including subcontractors.


Does D&O insurance cover breach of fiduciary duty?

Directors and officers hold fiduciary duties to their companies and the businesses’ stakeholders, meaning they should put the interests of their companies above their own. Any real or perceived breaches of these duties expose business leaders and executives to legal action.


Lawsuits stemming from breach of fiduciary duty is among those covered by D&O insurance. Companies typically pay for this coverage to allow executives to confidently serve as leaders of their organizations without the threat of personal financial losses as a result of their actions and decisions.


D&O policies also provide protection against charges associated with misuse of funds, misrepresentation of company assets, non-compliance with workplace laws, and lack of corporate accountability.


Why do private companies need D&O insurance?

Having D&O insurance gives companies many benefits. For one, it protects their balance sheets and income statements from losses. D&O policies also protect the personal assets of company executives, and their spouses and estates. It can provide a means of attracting and retaining top directors. D&O coverage also allows businesses to focus on their operations while litigation is ongoing


The year in D&O insurance..

2020 has caused many changes in the insurance world. From new risks to mitigate, to understanding how the pandemic would impact clients, brokers had daily challenges to overcome. Here are some of the biggest news stories in D&O this year: 


Elon Musk's Tesla D&O coverage runs out in less than a week – what happens next?

Electric car giant Tesla made headlines when chief executive officer Elon Musk said he would pay for his company’s directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance (D&O) – but recent details have emerged saying this insurance agreement is coming to a halt.


COVID-19 'hastens the pace' of hardening market in D&O

The coronavirus pandemic has placed the directors and officers (D&O) insurance marketplace down in the dumps as both private and public company marketplaces continue to see premium and retention increases, research reveals.


Non-profit D&O exposure in a global pandemic

Non-profit organizations are exposed to fluctuations in the D&O insurance market just like for-profit businesses, but the extent of their exposure depends on the size of their operation, as expert discusses.


How might the coronavirus impact the D&O insurance market?

As private and public companies fight to stay afloat amid plummeting economic conditions, they’re also being closely scrutinized by shareholders, employees and customers who are all too keen to hold corporations – especially big ones – to account. An expert reveals companies will not be let off the hook just because there’s a global pandemic.


Insurance lawyer on Elon Musk and Tesla's unconventional D&O decision

An insurance lawyer discusses Musk’s seemingly different attitude towards insurance and how this impacts the electric car behemoth.



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