D&O insurance policies sometimes contain Major Shareholder Exclusions, precluding coverage for claims brought by shareholders’ with ownership percentages above a certain specified ownership threshold. But when is the shareholder’s ownership percentage to be determined – at the time of policy inception or at the time of the claim? This issue was among the D&O insurance coverage question presented in a recent case before the Third Circuit. The appellate court, applying Delaware law, found that the exclusionary language involved was ambiguous, and therefore resolved the issue in the policyholder’s assignee’s favor. As discussed below, the appellate court’s ruling is interesting in a number of different respects.

The Third Circuit’s opinion in the case can be found here. The Wiley Rein law firm’s October 19, 2019 post about the decision on its Executive Summary Blog can be found here.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Finds Major Shareholder Exclusion Ambiguous

Let’s say your client has been served with a new D&O lawsuit. Based on what you know about the events that led up to the lawsuit, you are genuinely unsure whether the claim was first made earlier, or not until the lawsuit was filed. Just to complicate things further, during the last renewal cycle, the client moved its D&O coverage from one carrier to another carrier, and some of the events in the lawsuit lead-up occurred during the prior policy period. Just notice both carriers, right? That would seem to be the prudent thing to do, especially given the uncertainty about the claims made date, right?

Maybe not.
Continue Reading D&O Insurance: Problems with the Prior Notice Exclusion

A federal district court has held that because of an insured company’s application misrepresentation about possible M&A activity, a D&O insurance policy’s Warranty Exclusion precludes coverage for the policyholder’s costs incurred in defending claims arising out of the insured company’s acquisition. The court’s opinion raises interesting questions about how the meaning of application questions is to be determined. Central District of California Judge Phillip Gutierrez’s February 4, 2019 opinion in the case can be found here. An April 15, 2019 post on the Wiley Rein law firm’s Executive Summary Blog can be found here.
Continue Reading D&O Insurance: Warranty Exclusion Precludes Coverage Due to Application Misrepresentation