The key distinction with directors and officers liability is that it is intended to cover wrongful acts that are “intentional,” as opposed to “negligent” events or acts covered under General Liability. These actions may be in error and wrong, but they are, nonetheless, “intentional” acts. A good Directors and Officers policy should include broad coverage for all types of employment related actions, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, failure to hire, etc. It should also pay defense costs as they are incurred, not on a reimbursement basis.
General Liability is the core coverage that all of our member insureds carry with us. We do not write stand-alone Directors and Officers.
Enhanced Coverage of Nonprofits OWN Directors and Officers Coverage
Summaries of key features only. Actual policy language will differ.
• Broad Employment Practices Liability coverage
• FREE unlimited employment risk management consultations for insureds with Directors and Officers policy including Employment Practices Liability
Flat Rate D&O
Our flat rate D&O product is for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with no employees. Specifically designed for nonprofits with no employees, this low cost product provides D&O protection for nonprofit board members and the organization, but excludes coverage for any employment related actions. The flat rate is $600 for limits of $1,000,000. New and renewal members with no employees are eligible. General Liability is the core coverage that all of our member insureds carry with us. We do not write stand-alone Directors and Officers.
From the Claim’s Files
Failure to Accommodate:
An employee with ongoing performance problems was eventually terminated, but alleged he was not given an accommodation due to stress in his personal life. Unfortunately, the employee’s file was not well documented on the performance issues, and the nonprofit had not addressed the accommodation request. The employee was highly paid, and the matter was heavily litigated over a four-year period. Because of the potential for an unfavorable jury verdict and the significant exposure to statutory plaintiff attorney fees, the claim was eventually mediated to a settlement of $350,000 after $230,000 in defense expense fees were incurred.
Four employees claimed they had been wrongfully terminated for complaining about unpaid wages. Legal discovery revealed that the unpaid wage claims had some merit and the terminations based on performance problems would be difficult to establish. While the four claims were eventually settled for $40,000, it took more than $35,000 in defense legal costs to get to that point. Retaliation claims are currently the most significant employee practice liability exposure to employers, for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Breach of Contract:
A nonprofit was sued by a builder for breach of a construction project contract, claiming unpaid contract damages. Often, breach of contract claims are not covered in D&O policies, but our forms contain a $250,000 defense cost only enhancement, so we were able to provide the nonprofit with an experienced defense attorney to assist them. While it took almost $25,000 in defense to get the case into settlement posture, the nonprofit was able to obtain a very favorable compromise on the contract damage issues.