Crisis in Banking and the D&O Market

The effects of the ongoing banking crisis are not limited to financial institutions; the D&O and P&C insurance markets have also suffered. This report investigates the origins of the banking crisis, its impact on the D&O markets, and what it means for P&C agents and brokers.

Source: ProgramBusiness | Published on April 4, 2023

Aon report on public D&O insurance

The effects of the ongoing banking crisis are not limited to financial institutions; the D&O and P&C insurance markets have also suffered. This report investigates the origins of the banking crisis, its impact on the D&O markets, and what it means for P&C agents and brokers.

The ongoing banking crisis has significantly affected the D&O and P&C insurance markets and financial institutions. Consequently, there is a greater demand for risk management services, and P/C agents and brokers must meet their clients’ needs more effectively than ever before. In addition, insurers require more time to assess risk accurately in the current uncertain financial environment, resulting in stricter underwriting guidelines and diminished capacity in the D&O markets.

Increased Risk for D&O Market Hardening

The recent banking crisis has caused significant concern in the US D&O market, which has an increased risk of hardening. As a result of the federal takeover of two mid-sized US banks, insurers are now scrutinizing financials more closely and may be less likely to take on higher risks. However, the extent and duration of the effects this will have on D&O rates are difficult to predict.

Lloyd’s Downplays D&O Insurance Crisis 

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has created economic uncertainty and disrupted financial systems. But Lloyd’s executives have said their positive investment outlook is not at risk because of the turmoil. Chief Financial Officer Burkhard Keese commented that their credit exposure to the banking sector is limited, with just £8.2 billion exposed, of which £3.5 billion relates to important global institutions “unlikely to default” and only £630 million tied to US regional banks. Chief Executive John Neal also mentioned that D&O loss picks for 2023 are currently under proper scrutiny and will be kept under review.

These assertions support the conclusion that Lloyd’s market has managed its investments shrewdly and adopted a cautious approach toward capital protection, allowing the corporation’s underwriting profits to surge in 2022. The conglomerates’ risk assessment strongly contrasts with other major financial powerhouses, such as Credit Suisse, whose shares had plummeted, eventually leading to its forced takeover by UBS in light of the SVB crisis.

However, there is still a reason for concern in light of the banking crisis occurring internationally at present, which could trigger a significant rise in D&O claims in the coming months or years. Specifically, businesses facing financial difficulties may be increasingly likely to pursue litigation against those responsible for their condition, with D&O liability claims proving a pivotal avenue to investigate. Fortunately, Lloyd’s is better positioned to deal with any sudden surge in claims resulting from such situations, given their strong performance last year.

Root Causes of the Banking Crisis

Several factors contributed to the banking crisis, including a weakening economy, new regulations, and increased financial sector risk. The leading causes of the current predicament are:

  • Recessions and depressions cause financial instability, making it difficult for banks to maintain capital reserves and, as a result, increase the likelihood of bank failure.
  • New regulations, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, have made compliance more difficult and costly for financial institutions, causing several to fail.
  • Increased competition and globalization have led banks to take on more risk in their lending and investment activities, making them more vulnerable to economic shocks.

Effects of the Banking Crisis on D&O Markets

The banking crisis has significantly impacted the D&O markets, resulting in more claims, higher premiums, and a more difficult underwriting environment.

  • Increased Claims: The crisis has led to a surge in litigation against directors and officers of financial institutions, resulting in increased claims and greater exposure for insurers.
  • Higher Premiums: As insurers face mounting claims, they raise premiums to maintain profitability, which has resulted in higher costs for financial institutions seeking D&O coverage.
  • Challenging Underwriting Environment: The uncertain financial landscape has made it difficult for insurers to assess risk accurately, which has led to stricter underwriting guidelines and reduced capacity in the D&O markets.

FDIC Warns About Regulatory Exclusion in D&O Insurance Policies

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has increasingly warned banking institutions about a troubling regulatory exclusion in D&O insurance policies in recent years. This clause can make the policies less valuable, leaving bank officers and directors without enough protection. In essence, it says that it won’t pay for lawsuits that federal or state banking regulators bring against people who work at the institution.

In a recent article, the law firm Hawley Troxell talks more about the FDIC regulatory exclusion and tells banks that they should be aware of these policy exclusions. They may have significant exposure to risks without proper awareness and little protection. Therefore, it is vital that banks thoroughly read through all contractual fine print before they make any decisions to ensure maximum legal security down the line.

Strategies for P/C Agents and Brokers to Adapt and Thrive

To do well in this challenging market, P/C agents and brokers must develop new ways to stay competitive and meet the changing needs of their clients. Focusing on these critical strategies is advisable:

  • Staying Informed: agents and brokers must stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the banking crisis and the D&O markets to provide informed guidance to their clients.
  • Expanding Offerings: By offering a broad range of services, including risk management, P/C agents and brokers can distinguish themselves from competitors and create additional revenue streams.
  • Emphasizing Customer Service: Brokers can build lasting relationships and foster client loyalty by providing exceptional customer service and demonstrating a deep understanding of their clients’ needs.
  • Leveraging Technology: Utilizing advanced technology and data analytics can help agents identify and assess them more effectively to offer their clients more targeted solutions.
  • Collaborating with Industry Experts: Partnering with specialized experts in the D&O markets can expand P/C agents’ and brokers’ knowledge base and provide more comprehensive solutions to their clients.
  • Focusing on Niche Markets: Identifying and targeting niche markets within the financial sector can help agents and brokers differentiate themselves from the competition and develop a reputation for expertise in those areas.


In today’s uncertain financial environment, insurance companies and brokers are learning how critical it is to assess risk and be ready to change quickly and accurately. Also, the crisis has demonstrated that insurance companies require detailed risk management plans to handle unstable finances when the economy is in trouble.

By taking these lessons into account and applying them to their practices, insurance companies and brokers can not only navigate the challenges posed by the banking crisis but also emerge as leaders in their field.