XL Capital could face a multi-million pound pay-out as the directors' and officers' (D&O) insurer of Royal Dutch/Shell, according to market sources.

The oil company was recently fined a total of £84m by both the FSA and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for overstating its reserves.

The SEC is currently investigating whether the directors of Royal Dutch/Shell are responsible for the situation.

One D&O underwriter said: "The market is expecting a claim, but it depends upon the extent to which people can prove they lost money as a result of the wrongdoings of the directors.

"Shareholders could claim they would not have invested if they knew what the reserves actually were."

An XL Capital spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by Insurance Times, but it is understood the insurer would have significant exposure to any D&O claim against the directors.

Meanwhile, US class action lawyers are understood to be considering a suit against Royal Dutch/Shell's auditors KPMG and Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.