Research

6th Directors' Liability Survey

What are the top risks facing Directors and Officers?

November 26, 2018
People listening in a meeting and taking notes

At a time when regulators and investigatory authorities are focusing unprecedented attention on personal accountability for company directors, we are pleased to bring you the sixth edition of our series on directors’ liabilities. A joint effort by international law firm Allen & Overy LLP and the global risk management brokerage and advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, we began this exercise to investigate boardroom attitudes to risk back in 2011 when, in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis, directors and officers began to find themselves in the spotlight as never before.

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

51% of public companies experienced a cyber attack or data loss last year, up considerably on the 30% that did so in 2017.

For the first time, cyber attack and data loss/breach tops the list of risks directors are most concerned about, overtaking regulatory and other investigations.

43% of large employers have experienced a regulatory claim involving a director in the last 12 months, and 38% of listed companies.

The regulatory focus on personal accountability is changing company behaviour, with 60% saying it is impacting decision-making processes.

75% of UK respondents point to growing economic and geopolitical risks impacting their firms, compared to just 47% of respondents in non-UK companies.

Health and safety legislation impacting on a company’s business is now a significant concern for 37% of respondents, as against just 18% of those surveyed last year.

When we look at policy terms, the biggest concern for the first time ever is whether a D&O policy will be able to respond to claims in all jurisdictions.