D & O Insurance: A Primer

Lawrence J. Trautman

American University; Oklahoma City University - School of Law; George Washington University

Kara Altenbaumer-Price


February 2, 2012

American University Business Law Review, Vol. 1, 2012

It is unquestioned in today’s business and litigation climate that corporate officers and directors face significant exposure based simply on their roles and titles, no matter how effectively, carefully, or in good faith their decisions are made. Director and officer insurance, often called D&O, is designed to protect executives, outside directors, as well as the companies they serve against liability arising from actions taken in the course of doing business.

Claims against officers and directors come in many forms, ranging from common law claims for breach of fiduciary duty to shareholder class actions for violations of the securities laws. Even when these allegations are baseless, companies — as well as individual directors and officers — may still face significant defense and settlement costs. D&O insurance, in tandem with indemnification, is designed to protect against the legal expenses of fighting litigation, as well as the underlying liability exposure. Our goal in writing this article is to present a basic explanation: what D&O insurance covers, what it doesn’t cover, how the market for coverage availability waxes and wanes over time; and what you can do to minimize insurance costs and improve coverage terms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 48

Keywords: Claim, Clawbacks, Corporate Governance, Directors, D&O Liability Insurance, Duty to Defend, Dodd-Frank, Exclusion, FCPA, Fraud, Indemnification, Insurance, Insurance Coverage, Insurance Underwriting, Risk Management, Risk Oversight, SEC, Wrongful Act

JEL Classification: G22, G30, K11, K13, K20, K22, K42

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Date posted: February 6, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Trautman, Lawrence J. and Altenbaumer-Price, Kara, D & O Insurance: A Primer (February 2, 2012). American University Business Law Review, Vol. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1998080

Contact Information

Lawrence J. Trautman (Contact Author)
American University ( email )
4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Oklahoma City University - School of Law ( email )
2501 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
United States
George Washington University ( email )
2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States
Kara Altenbaumer-Price
U.S.I. ( email )
1445 Ross Avenue
Ste 4200
Dallas, TX 75202
United States
2144433127 (Phone)
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