Directors & Officers (D&O) liability insurance protects the board members and officers of organizations against certain specified claims. Insurance defense law firms that defend insureds and their insurance carriers in management liability, corporate law, and employment practices liability (EPLI) claims often ask themselves “how can I get on a D&O insurance panel?”
The challenge many defense law firms face is that if they are not able to get on a D&O insurance panel maintained by the insurance carrier that provides policy coverage for a corporate client, then the law firm may not be able to defend their client in a litigated claim. The carrier may simply appoint another law firm that is on the D&O panel to represent the insured.
When a D&O claim is filed, it may be possible for the insured can ask if the insurance company will allow their law firm to represent them (the insured) in the instant matter. The carrier generally is not required to grant this request, and if they do it is called an “accommodation.”
Another way around this is to have the insured designate their law firm of choice in their policy when it is first written or when the policy is up for renewal. The insured may need to pay an extra fee in order to include their law firm in the policy. The approval process will depend in part on the carrier and the size of the policy.
In either event – through an accommodation or being named in a policy – this does not mean that the law firm has been able to get on a D&O insurance panel. It simply means that they can represent their client in a given situation.
If the insured then changes D&O carriers at some point in the future, the insurance defense law firm then needs to go through this process all over again. Of course, many clients don’t notify their law firms of a change in coverage until after the policy is signed, or perhaps as late as when a claim is filed.
All of the above reasons argue that the insurance defense law firm should make every effort to get on a D&O insurance panel whenever possible if this is a primary or growing practice area. Here are some of the steps that need to be taken in order try to get on a D&O insurance panel:
- Identify which insurance carriers are writing D&O insurance in your geographic area of interest. You might be able to find this by looking at state-level Department of Insurance records, or talking to commercial insurance brokers in your area.
- Determine who you need to contact at the insurance carrier to in order to get on a D&O insurance panel. Indeed, this can be a particularly challenging undertaking. Law firms might want to conduct online research or ask around among their peers to help with this process.
- Once you’ve identified who to contact, then submit some introductory materials for consideration. Be prepared to follow up on all these outreach efforts, since you may need to make several tries before you are acknowledged.
The challenge of business development is that it can take a considerable amount of time to launch a successful marketing campaign. Many law firms find it difficult to sustain a campaign without outside guidance and focus. They stop selling too soon, and lose the momentum of a campaign to the day-to-day requirements of running a law firm.
Types of Claims Handled by a D&O Insurance Panel Law Firm
Directors & Officers insurance policies can include Side A, Side B, or Side C coverage, as described below.
- Side A coverage on a D&O policy protects offices and directors when they are not indemnified by their employer. This is an uncommon situation, so most coverage falls under Side B.
- Side B coverage on a D&O policy provides reimbursement for amounts an insured company pays to defend officers and directors, including judgments and settlements.
- Side C coverage applies to public companies that are subject to securities litigation claims.
Policies may be subject to exclusions and limitations, so every policy term should be carefully reviewed. Qualified legal counsel can help the insured in risk avoidance efforts.
Additionally, the subject matter of D&O claims can include but is not limited to:
- Claims related to regulatory actions, including environmental contamination or employee health and safety matters.
- Employee claims alleging harassment, discrimination, or wrongful termination.
- Shareholder or lender claims alleging misrepresentation in the disclosure of financial reporting data or significant contract terms.
- Corporate governance disputes, including succession planning or mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
Insurance Defense Marketing Consultant to Help Law Firms Get on a D&O Insurance Panel
If your insurance defense law firm is asking how you can get on a D&O insurance panel, give us a call. We have helped more than 160 insurance defense law firms in 37 states pursue new insurance panel counsel clients.
Legal Expert Connections, Inc. offers three key benefits to insurance defense law firms nationwide:
- We are the leading U.S. legal marketing agency specializing in the insurance defense market. We make it our business to identify who you need to contact at an insurance company, corporation or municipality to be considered as a panel counsel member. We accelerate your business development process by helping you focus on introducing your law firm to new prospective clients.
- You get a structured business development process. We guide your law firm through a proven three-step campaign that brings discipline, focus, and productivity to your marketing efforts.
- Increase revenue with professional, Bar-compliant legal marketing campaigns. We do the research to identify insurance panel managers, so you can focus your time on the business development process.
This article is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be interpreted as legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Every situation is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.