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

58 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2005 Last revised: 18 Oct 2013

See all articles by Zhiyan Cao

Zhiyan Cao

University of Washington Tacoma

Ganapathi S. Narayanamoorthy

Tulane University - Accounting & Taxation

Date Written: August 2012


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.

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

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

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:

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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