Sage Advice - Relentless Recovery 

Addressing Unique Issues in D&O Claims

Directors and officers of a company are exposed to certain risks when carrying out their job duties, including the possibility of finding themselves as the targets of lawsuits, investigations, administrative actions and even criminal proceedings based on their management of the company. Many companies provide D&O insurance to help limit any personal liability on the part of their directors and officers and also provide them with a defense when those situations arise. However, most people do not take a hard look at the details of these policies until a claim or an allegation is made and then find themselves in a tight spot either when their claim is subsequently denied or when the insurance company fails or refuses to defend them.

At The Law Offices of Orin H. Lewis, PLLC, the firm represents policyholders and other insureds exclusively. Attorney Orin H. Lewis brings more than 25 years of experience to these issues, including securing for directors and officers the coverage they deserve when an insurance company wrongly fails to defend or indemnify them.

When Are Directors and Officers Exposed to Liability?

D&O coverage is often needed most when things are at their worst.  Investors may turn on a company, a company may face bankruptcy, and individual directors and officers may be exposed to significant personal liability in these settings.  Even worse, directors and officers may face allegations of wrongdoing that may result in consequences even more severe than financial ruin, including jail or limits on their ability to serve in those same roles for another company in the future.  When these storms arise, it is important to seek help from an attorney who is familiar with the unique issues that come along with D&O coverage in these contexts, and who can help you secure any protection afforded by the D&O coverage of your current or former company.

Common Issues With D&O Coverage

D&O coverage can differ wildly. Sometimes care may be taken in a policy to afford coverage (including both a defense and indemnity) for a broad range of risks. Other times, D&O policies may contain limitations and exclusions stealthily designed to defeat coverage for even the most significant and obvious risks. Sometimes ambiguity may exist regarding whether one or more claims is covered and what that means for your defense as a whole.  Recognizing when an ambiguity may exist or how potential conflicts ought to be resolved may make the difference between whether you are afforded a defense or indemnity at the most critical point in your life, or whether you are left twisting in the wind.  Do not rely on an insurance company’s denial letter as the last word on whether you will be afforded the coverage you deserve. Turn to a firm that has the knowledge and experience to build a case for coverage for you.

When people think about coverage, they often focus on civil lawsuits, but depending on how coverage is worded, the rights afforded may be far broader than that. The duty to defend may be broad enough to afford a defense even in a variety of contexts including criminal proceedings, civil enforcement proceedings, administrative actions and even investigations by federal agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Department of Health (DOH).  If you are in need of a defense and not sure about your rights, a call sooner rather than later may make all the difference.

Contact the Firm for Help Exploring Your Options

If your company’s insurer is unwilling to defend or indemnify you in your role as a director or officer, our firm can help explore your options. Call 713 423 6772 or complete the online contact form to schedule a consultation. Headquartered in Houston, we represent directors and officer in insurance coverage counseling and disputes in Texas and throughout the United States.