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Accounting and Litigation Risk: Evidence from Directors' & Officers' Insurance Pricing

Zhiyan Cao

University of Washington Tacoma

Ganapathi S. Narayanamoorthy

Tulane University - Accounting & Taxation

August 2012

Review of Accounting Studies, Forthcoming

We study whether and how financial reporting concerns are priced by insurers that sell Directors’ and Officers’ (D&O) insurance to public firms. As D&O insurers typically assume the liabilities arising from shareholder litigation, the premiums they charge for D&O coverage reflect their assessment of a company’s litigation risk. Using a sample of public firms in the 2001-2004 Tillinghast D&O insurance surveys, we document that firms with lower earnings quality or prior accounting restatements pay higher premiums after controlling for other factors impacting litigation risk. In addition, insurers’ concerns about financial reporting are most evident for firms with restatements that are not revenue or expense related, are greater in the period following the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and are greater for firms with financial reporting problems that linger. Our results are consistent with past restatements being viewed as evidence of chronic problems with a firm’s financial statements. By analyzing archival data, we can also quantify the effects of other determinants of D&O premiums (such as business risk, corporate governance, etc.) identified by Baker and Griffith (2007a) through interviews regarding the D&O underwriting process.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 58

Keywords: Financial reporting quality, accounting restatements, Directors’ and Officers’ insurance, litigation risk, D&O, corporate governance

JEL Classification: G22, G32, K22, K41, K42, M41

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Date posted: November 21, 2005 ; Last revised: October 18, 2013

Suggested Citation

Cao, Zhiyan and Narayanamoorthy, Ganapathi S., Accounting and Litigation Risk: Evidence from Directors' & Officers' Insurance Pricing (August 2012). Review of Accounting Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=853024

Contact Information

Zhiyan Cao
University of Washington Tacoma ( email )
1900 Commerce St, Campus Box 358420
Tacoma, WA 98402-3100
United States
(253) 692-4821 (Phone)
(253) 692-4523 (Fax)

Ganapathi S. Narayanamoorthy (Contact Author)
Tulane University - Accounting & Taxation ( email )
United States
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