Directors and officers insurance

Specialist cover for directors and officers' liabilities from as little as £5 a month

  • Fast, easy online quote in just 90 seconds

  • Interest free direct debit

  • No hidden fees or cancellation charges

It's a common misconception that directors and officers of limited companies have no personal liability for their actions at their firm.

In reality, company directors and officers can be held personally accountable for poor decisions, mismanagement and other breaches of the Companies Act, even if their actions were done with the best intentions.

Allegations of negligence by directors and officers can be costly to defend; the legal costs alone can be thousands of pounds. Without directors and officers insurance, also known as D&O insurance, you may have to pay the defence costs (and any subsequent compensation payments) out of your own personal wealth.

Why do directors and officers need insurance?

Broadly speaking, personal claims or proceedings against directors or officers can arise from any decision made, or act carried out, in the workplace however innocuous it may have seemed at the time.

These range from frivolous and occasionally malicious claims made by disgruntled customers who weren't happy about the service they received, all the way through to official investigations.

Claims and proceedings where personal liability can be involved also typically include:

  • Claims by investors and shareholders who blame directors personally for their losses
  • Actions brought by liquidators, where they suspect wrongful trading or incorrect payments to creditors
  • Actions brought by HMRC where insolvent trading or misappropriation of tax payments is suspected
  • HSE investigations where negligence is suspected
  • Police and SFO investigations where fraud is suspected

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What does directors and officers insurance cover?

Our directors and officers insurance covers your legal liability as a director or officers of the company, as well as your legal costs and expenses in respect of:

  • The defence of any legal action seeking your disqualification as a director

  • Any investigations

  • Extradition proceedings (including appeals)

  • In addition, a PR crisis management service covering your costs in using public relations specialist to deal with adverse press, publicity or media attention within the United Kingdom where there is a risk to your livelihood as a consequence of such attention

 

With directors and officers insurance, in the first instance you have direct access to practical advice from our in-house claims team. If you talk to them at the first hint of trouble, they can often help you to defuse the situation; either minimising the risk of a frivolous claim being made, or by helping you to direct claims or proceedings towards the company rather than individual directors or officers.

However, should proceedings still arise, our directors and officers insurance covers a wide range of scenarios: from the legal costs and damages where actionable mistakes have been made, through to arranging and paying for legal representation throughout lengthy and expensive official investigations. We can even arrange legal representation at a Police Station in the unfortunate event of a director or officer's arrest.

In short, the protection given to directors and officers by limited company status is often less valuable than you may think.

The importance of personal protection for all officers

It is important to note that while the legal definition of a director is reasonably clear, the legal definition of an officer is vague enough to allow claims or proceedings to be issued against people in almost any managerial or supervisory position.

So while you may be confident that all of your company's directors are aware of their legal responsibilities, it is vital to understand that problems can be caused inadvertently by individuals at many levels of an organisation.

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How much does directors and officers insurance cost?

Directors and officers cover is available from as little as £5 a month - get an online quote now or call us on 0800 640 6600 to speak to one of our insurance experts.

With insurance from Markel Direct, you'll receive instant proof of cover, meaning your directors and officers are immediately protected.

If for any reason circumstances change and you wish to cancel your policy with us, there are no hidden fees or cancellations fees.

How to buy directors and officers insurance

We’ve made buying your business insurance simple. You can get a quote in just 90 seconds, using our fast and easy online quote form.

All you’ll need to do is answer a few questions about your business and from there we will be able to provide you with a quote. If you would like to go ahead with buying the insurance, you can choose between spreading the cost of your insurance over 10 interest free monthly payments, or paying it in full there and then.

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Cover starting at £5 a month

Frequently asked questions

  • What is directors and officers insurance?

    Directors and officers insurance offers vital protection for you as a company director or officer. It pays your legal defence costs and damages that you are legally liable to pay to other parties following a wrongful act committed by you in your capacity as a company director or officer. This can include:

    • Actions brought by liquidators, where they suspect wrongful trading or incorrect payments to creditors
    • Actions brought by HMRC where insolvent trading or misappropriation of tax payments is suspected
    • HSE investigations where negligence is suspected
    • Police and SFO investigations where fraud is suspected
  • Do I need directors and officers insurance?

    In today's litigious society, claims against directors and officers are becoming increasingly common. These can come from many sources, including:

    • Investors and shareholders who blame directors for their loss
    • Liquidators that suspect wrongful trading
    • HMRC where insolvent trading is suspected
    • HSE where negligence is suspect
    • Police and Serious Fraud Office investigations where fraud is suspected

    While a claim may seem unlikely, particularly for small companies with only one or two directors, the fact is that if a claim was brought against an individual director or officer and cover was not in place, the costs to defend the claim (and any damages payable should the defence be unsuccessful) would have to be funded out of the director's own personal finances. As such, it is worth giving consideration to whether your business needs directors and officers cover.

  • What kind of claims does directors and officers insurance cover against?

    Directors and officers insurance claims are wide ranging, however some examples of claims we have handled include:

    Breach of health and safety regulations - a construction company suffered a near miss when a huge pane of glass fell from the fifth floor of a redevelopment project onto the pavement. Miraculously, no one was injured but the Health & Safety Executive made a site visit the following day. This revealed a number of legislative breaches. A variety of actions were subsequently brought against the directors resulting in costs of £45.000.

    Divorced team take director vs director action - a husband and wife team equally owned a successful contract cleaning company. Following a messy divorce, the wife accused her husband of deliberately mismanaging the finances to distort the true worth of the business. This is commonly known as a director vs. director action and is on the increase as business pressures mount. Total costs amounted to £75,000.

  • What limit of cover should I choose?

    Many clients and industry bodies with regulatory requirements will require you to have a minimum level of cover in order for you to undertake a contract, so it's worth checking this before you arrange cover. If you're unsure, or it's the first time you have arranged cover, give some thought to a worst-case scenario and the likely costs involved in putting your mistake right. We offer a range of limits on insurance, so you're sure to find the right cover for your business.

  • Why should I choose Markel’s insurance?

    Markel has over 25 years of experience insuring contractors, consultants and self-employed professionals. We insure over 200,000 micro businesses and are highly rated by our customers at Feefo.com.

    We are a division of Markel International, a Lloyd’s and London market insurer that wrote gross premium totals of £1.09bn in 2020.

    To talk about your insurance requirements and better understand our cover, call us on 0800 640 6600 or get a quick quote online.

  • How are Markel regulated?

    Markel International Insurance Company Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Find out more on the Financial Services Register.

Cover starting at £5 a month

Cover starting at £5 a month

More specialist cover

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  • Cyber and data risks insurance

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