Fiduciary Insurance

Keep Your Finances Safe

Fiduciary insurance revolves around protecting insureds from lawsuit expenses caused by a breach of fiduciary duty. However, to understand such breaches, let’s first discuss who a fiduciary is and what their responsibilities are. 

In this article

Understanding Fiduciary Responsibility  

A fiduciary can be an organization or a person who acts on behalf of another party. Fiduciaries are legally and ethically bounded to act in the party’s best interest. Hence, a fiduciary is anyone trusted to act in the best interest of concerned beneficiaries.

Fiduciaries can be money managers, bankers, accountants, insurance agents, financial advisors, board members, corporate officers, etc. Their prime responsibility is to serve the client’s best interest. Fiduciaries need to act in good faith and preserve the trust of clients.     

For instance, if you’re an investment advisor, you are legally liable to suggest good investment opportunities to your clients. If you work to make profits for yourself while neglecting the client’s interests, you may face lawsuits on the grounds of breach of fiduciary responsibility.  

What does Fiduciary Insurance Do?

Also known as fiduciary liability insurance, it covers employers from claims arising from a breach of fiduciary duty. The insurance takes care of legal defense expenses as well as claims settlement costs. Consider the example of Wells Fargo’s case—20 Wells Fargo executives and directors were alleged to have failed in controlling the creation of bogus customer accounts. In the wake of their breach of fiduciary duty, the insurers for the officials had to pay $240 million to Wells Fargo’s U.S. shareholders in 2019. Had the officials not had insurance coverage, the lawsuits might have exhausted their personal assets. Usually, fiduciary liability policy is purchased for people who have the discretionary authority of decision making over employee benefits plans. According to the US Department of Labor, the following have fiduciary responsibilities:
  • People or entities exercising authority or discretionary control on employee plan management
  • Those responsible for the plan’s administration or exercise discretionary authority for the same.
  • Entities providing investment advice to a plan
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Do You Need Fiduciary Insurance?

Legally, fiduciary insurance is not mandatory. However, it may be the only insurance that adequately protects fiduciaries. The coverages of fiduciary insurance are generally excluded from other insurances. For instance, while employee benefits liability insurance covers employee plan claims, it may not pay for administrative errors. Neither does general liability insurance adequately cover the personal assets of those facing fiduciary suits. Find here more about CEL Los Angeles. Similarly, directors and officers (D&O) insurance excludes fiduciary liability claims specifically related to violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Furthermore, errors and omissions insurance is designed to protect you from lawsuits by customers, rather than from employees. The job of a fiduciary is quite sensitive. Moreover, safeguarding the interests of people and acting in their best interests require vigilant monitoring. One simple mistake can bring hefty litigations, possibly causing financial jeopardy.

When the lawsuit claims arises, make fiduciary insurance your savior!

Coverages of Fiduciary Insurance  

Fiduciary insurance compensates you from suits arising from the following:  

  • Careless selection and supervision of service providers
  • Improper investment decisions
  • Unauthorized changes in employee benefits plans
  • Prohibitive transactions
  • Wrongfully denied benefits to employees
  • Erroneous administration of plans
  • Conflict of interest (for e.g. self-profiting)
  • Improper consultation or advice
  • Mismanaged investments, such as no portfolio diversity

A fiduciary policy may provide comprehensive coverage to the company, directors, officers, employees, administration committees, employee benefits companies, etc. The fiduciaries are covered for fines, penalties, and punitive damages following lawsuits.   

Exclusions of Fiduciary Liability Insurance 

While the insurance has a myriad of coverages, it does not cover everything. Some exclusions are:
  • Any dishonest acts
  • Criminal or illegal actions
  • Intentional wrongdoing
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How much does Fiduciary Insurance Cost? 

Generally, an employer purchases fiduciary insurance to cover the fiduciaries working for them. Even so, it’s worth noting that fiduciaries should always prioritize beneficiaries’ interests over the company’s interests.   

The cost of fiduciary insurance depends on the following factors: 

Business size 

Large companies have more significant risks. Furthermore, greater risks mean greater premiums.

Nature of business 

Insurers classify risk class based on the industry. Some industries are more prone to risks than others. Therefore, if your business’s nature is categorized as having a higher risk exposure, you’ll be charged a higher premium.

Service provider 

For instance, suppose you hire a financial advisor to take care of your financial plans. While selling fiduciary insurance, the insurance provider considers the claim records of that financial advisor. The higher the number of claims, the greater the premium and vice-versa.

Plan assets 

A high-value employee benefits plan will increase your cost of insurance.  On the other hand, a low-value plan will lower the cost of insurance.

Policy limits 

Policy limits reflect the level of coverage. If you want to purchase insurance with higher policy limits, your costs will also increase. Get a sneak peek of how much a fiduciary insurance policy might cost you. Contact us for a quote.

Other Policies with Fiduciary Liability Coverage  

You can get fiduciary liability coverages attached to other policies such as:  

FAQs

How is a fidelity different from the fiduciary?

A fidelity bond reimburses you for dishonest acts committed by your employees, such as theft. On the other hand, a fiduciary insurance will indemnify you for lawsuits surfacing from improper management of benefits.

What is a VA fiduciary program?

A VA fiduciary program safeguards veterans and beneficiaries who incapable of managing their finances due to illness, injury, or age.

How do you prove a breach of fiduciary duty?
To strengthen the grounds of a fiduciary claim, you must prove the following things:
  • There exists a fiduciary relationship
  • There was a breach in the relationship
  • The breach caused financial loss

Not sure where to start? Why not get a quote!