What's keeping directors and officers up at night?

Global poll points to top risks

What's keeping directors and officers up at night?

Professional Risks

By Terry Gangcuangco

The Global Directors’ and Officers’ Survey Report 2024, jointly published by major brokerage WTW and international law firm Clyde & Co, has brought to light the pressing issue of health & safety as the principal concern for directors and officers worldwide.

Spanning the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, Latin America, North America, Africa, and the Middle East, the comprehensive analysis found that an overwhelming 84% of respondents deem health & safety ‘very or extremely important’ – overshadowing cyberattack risks (79%).

Systems & controls and breach of sanctions, meanwhile, emerged as new entrants among the top seven risks for global directors. Interestingly, climate change did not make the overall cut but remained a major consideration in regions like Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East.    

There was also a noticeable trend towards alternative risk transfer strategies, with a significant number of participants considering or already employing captives to manage D&O risk.

“While the last five years have seen cyber and data breaches being a top risk for directors and officers, it was a surprise to see health & safety be considered the top risk,” Jeremy Wall, WTW global FINEX (financial and executive risks) head, noted.

“Clearly the pandemic continues to impact the business environment with some of our clients citing the rise in mental health as a considerable concern in their organizations. We strongly recommend that organizations prioritize evolving their risk management practices, addressing the emerging threats, particularly around health & safety.”

This year’s edition of the study was described by Wall as their “most expansive” yet, with respondents based across more than 50 countries.

“The report underscores the dynamic and complex nature of the risk landscape currently facing directors,” said James Cooper, partner and global chair of Clyde & Co’s insurance practice. “What we have seen is that there is a pressing need for better education on D&O insurance and indemnification practices to ensure directors and officers are comprehensively protected.

“By leveraging the insights and recommendations from this report, organizations can better navigate these challenges, enhancing their resilience and strategic response to risks.”

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