Willis Towers Watson launches LEAP: New solution addresses increased personal accountability of the C-Suite

Responding to new regulatory requirements for senior executives, Willis Towers Watson has launched a new legal expenses solution to help protect executives from personal liability.

Legal Expenses Additional Protection (LEAP) provides senior executives with hassle free access to independent legal advice to help them in their day-to-day dealings with regulators.

The Senior Managers and Certification Regime will come into force for UK banks and building societies on March 7, 2016. As a result all senior managers will acquire a range of additional personal duties and responsibilities including an overall “duty of responsibility” and therefore a greater personal risk of liability. In October 2015, the UK Government also announced its intention to extend the regime to all regulated entities.

LEAP addresses these enhanced risks for individuals by providing legal expenses protection for executives in the event that they feel that they require their own legal advice.

Francis Kean, Executive Director in Willis Towers Watson’s financial and executive risks practice, said: “Conflicts of interest may not arise often but when they do it can be a serious matter. The question as to whether, when and on what terms companies will pay for board members to access separate legal advice is often shrouded in uncertainty. LEAP provides senior managers with the reassurance that this resource will always be available to them. What differentiates LEAP from traditional Directors’ &Officers’ (D&0) insurance is that it is triggered not by a claim or investigation but by the subjective assessment of the senior manager concerned of the need for separate advice.”

He added: “Although LEAP was created in response to increased UK regulation, we have identified a global regulatory trend towards delivery of personal accountability in the corporate world. This sentiment was recently underlined in a memorandum from US Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates, about individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing.1 In this new environment LEAP gives executives the confidence to fulfil their enhanced regulatory responsibilities whilst allowing them to focus on running their businesses safe in the knowledge that they have enhanced protection if they need it.”