In the following guest post, Paul Ferrillo, a partner in the McDermott, Will & Emery law firm, takes a look at Excess Side A insurance and discusses its importance as part of a well-structured D&O insurance program. I would like to thank Paul for his willingness to allow me to publish his 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 Paul’s article.
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Perhaps because of my many years in the D&O insurance business, I am frequently approached by younger insurance agency and insurance brokerage professionals who are thinking about trying to concentrate on D&O insurance as product specialty. I generally encourage this idea, as I think that D&O insurance is an interesting industry space that still provides a lot of worthwhile opportunities. But the younger professionals who approach me are looking for more than just a few words of encouragement. They are also looking for advice and information. They are not always sure what in particular they are looking for when they approach me, but I know after many of these conversations one thing they usually need – that is, they need to know what to talk about when they talk about D&O.
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An issue that frequently comes up when companies are in bankruptcy or in other forms of receivership is whether the companies’ D&O insurer can advance payment of individuals’ defense costs over the receiver’s objections. In a recent case, a Northern District of Texas judge has ruled that the individual defendants in an SEC enforcement action are entitled to have their defense expenses advanced notwithstanding the asset stay in the proceeding and despite the receiver’s objections. However the policy’s limits of liability are all but exhausted, which raises its own set of issues, as discussed below. Northern District of Texas Judge Sydney Fitzwater’s June 6, 2018 opinion in the case can be found here.
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At times of trouble, D&O insurance can represent the last line of defense for corporate directors. For that reason, corporate board members rightfully are concerned about their insurance and want reassurance that their company’s policy will provide them the protection they will need. Unfortunately, directors don’t always know the questions to ask and only find