As part of a continuing series of recordings, I have been participating in sessions the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) has organized discussing the potential D&O liability and insurance issues arising out of the coronavirus outbreak and the related economic disruption. In each session in the series I have been joined by my good friends

Andrew Solyntjes
Andrew Lipton

In the current economic turmoil, bankruptcy is a big concern. In the following guest post, Andrew Solyntjes, Markel Bermuda Limited, and Andrew G. Lipton, of the White & Williams law firm, take review some of the key bankruptcy-related D&O insurance issues. A version of this article previously was published as a White & Williams client alert. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Bankruptcy and D&O Insurance: Top Tips and Reminders

Among the looming economic consequences of the pandemic is the likelihood of a huge surge in bankruptcy filings. A rise in bankruptcies will in turn likely lead to an increase in the number of bankruptcy-related litigation claims against directors and officers of the bankrupt companies, which in turn could lead to insurance coverage issues under the companies’ D&O insurance policies. In the following guest post, Alicia Garcia and Kate Hausmann, Complex Claim Specialists with Hiscox USA, and James Talbert and Elan Kandel of the Bailey Cavalieri law firm take a look at the issues that could arise in the bankruptcy context with respect to the policies’ Insured vs. Insured Exclusion. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: The Impending Bankruptcy Surge and Insured vs. Insured Exclusion Considerations

Companies navigating the current heath crisis and dealing with its financial effects face a number of risks. Among the many risks is the possibility of business litigation. For publicly traded companies, the litigation risks include the possibility of securities class action litigation. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the steps companies can take to try to mitigate their securities class action litigation remain the same – manage disclosures, control insider trading, and handle bad news appropriately, among other things – but the coronavirus outbreak has added new dimensions to these steps. Well-advised companies will be making the appropriate adjustments, and, as discussed below, D&O insurance underwriters will be (or perhaps, should be) monitoring companies closely to see which companies are making the adjustments.
Continue Reading Securities Litigation Loss Prevention in the Midst of a Pandemic

As I have noted in numerous post on this blog (most recently here), among the many different types of fallout from the current coronavirus outbreak are the potentially significant implications for corporate liability and for D&O insurance. In the following guest post, Lawrence J. Bracken, Geoffrey B. Fehling and Lorelie S. Masters of the Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP law firm consider these implications, including the types of claims that may arise and the impact the pandemic may have D&O insurance policyholders and their insurers. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to publish a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: D&O Insurance Issues Arising from the COVID-19 Crisis

Much has changed since I published my first coronavirus-related post a month ago. The number of confirmed cases and of deaths has soared. Much of the country is now on lockdown. School, work, business — so much of basic social and economic activity has stopped. Much has changed in the D&O arena as well. There have been both claims and underwriting developments, and a number of trends have emerged. In the post below, I discuss some of these developments and trends. I recognize that my observations are limited by my own personal perspective; it is my hope that others will share their observations about the current environment using the comment feature to add their views to this post.
Continue Reading Coronavirus and D&O Insurance: An Interim Update

Francis Kean

One of the questions for companies facing financial difficulties both in the U.S. and in the UK is the extent to which the boards of the companies owe duties to creditors to try to avoid creditors’ losses as the companies approach insolvency. I discussed the state of the law in Delaware regarding these issues in a recent post. In the following guest post, Francis Kean, a partner in the financial lines team at McGill and Partners, takes a look at the recent suspension in the UK of “wrongful trading’ legislation   A version of Francis’s article previously was published on LinkedIn. I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly of you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Francis’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: UK’s Wrongful Trading Laws Suspended: Good News for Company Directors?  

A recent judicial ruling out of the U.K. provides an interesting perspective on directors’ duties under applicable law when a bankrupt company is in liquidation. As discussed below, the Court held that a director’s duties continue in relevant respects even if the director’s powers cease as of the date of the bankruptcy filing. The circumstances of the case provide an interesting example of a claim that arose against a former director post-liquidation. As discussed below, the circumstances also provide an illustration of why the purchase of post-liquidation run-off coverage is advisable. Though the circumstances arose under U.K. law, the situation bears enough similarities to what might arise under equivalent U.S. law that the liability and insurance lessons are instructive even in the U.S. context.
Continue Reading Directors’ Duties in Insolvency and the D&O Insurance Implications

One way or the other, I have been doing D&O for more than 35 years. One of the reasons I love what I do is that there is always something new and so I am always learning. This week’s new thing is a recent ruling by a federal district court ruling that a debtor’s insurer could not rely on a bankruptcy exclusion in the debtor’s D&O policy to deny coverage for an underlying claim because the exclusion violates the bankruptcy code’s probation against ipso facto provisions in executory contracts. In all my years, I don’t believe I have ever run across the bankruptcy code’s ipso facto provision prohibition, so the district court’s ruling in this case was a learning opportunity for me – and I suspect it will be for most readers as well.
Continue Reading D&O Policy’s Bankruptcy Exclusion is a Prohibited Ipso Facto Provision and Unenforceable

Paul Ferrillo
Christophe Veltsos

In the following guest post, Paul Ferrillo and Christophe Veltsos consider the implications of the recently announced bankruptcy of the corporate parent of a medical billing company following a high-profile date breach at the billing company. Paul is a shareholder in the Greenberg Traurig law firm’s Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Crisis Management Practice. Chris is a professor in the Department of Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he regularly teaches Information Security and Information Warfare classes. I would like to than Paul and Chris for their willingness to allow me to publish their article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Paul and Chris’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Buckle up Directors: Cybersecurity Risk and Bankruptcy Risk Are Not Mutually Exclusive