Product aims to protect directors and officers at SMEs

AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary has updated its e-traded directors’ and officers’ (D&O) product to protect SMEs after changes in the provision of legal aid.

New legislation introduced in January stated that company directors with assets exceeding £37,000 who are facing criminal prosecution will have no access to legal aid, leaving them exposed to significant financial risk.

In response, AXA has updated its existing D&O product to include the costs of criminal regulatory investigations and compensation claims made against SMEs and their directors and officers accused of wrongful acts.

Policyholders will also get 24-hour access to a free legal advice service provided by specialist law firm Rradar, offering support in areas such as employment, HSE, HR, taxation and regulatory issues.

The updated product, which is available through AXA’s Simple extranet and brokers using the Acturis system, provides enhanced elements of cover, including worldwide jurisdiction, cyber liability and regulatory mitigation cover.

AXA head of management liability Callum Taylor said: “These recent changes to the provision of legal aid are not very well understood and there is a real risk that businesses and the individuals running those businesses could find themselves unwittingly exposed.

“The enhancements we have made to our simple D&O product allows brokers to not only secure comprehensive protection for their clients but give them access to specialist advice and support that would cost thousands of pounds on the open market.”

AXA personal intermediary managing director Jon Walker said the enhancement was the first in a series of product releases coming from AXA over the final quarter of the year.

“This is part of our ongoing development and growth plan of our e-traded Simple product range. Over the coming weeks we will be announcing further product releases as we respond to the increasing need for SME online trading solutions,” he said.