Sep 21, 2023

The Essential Role of D&O Insurance in Software Startups

As a software startup, one of your major hurdles will be finding insurance coverage to protect your company in its infancy, including through directors and officers (D&O) insurance. D&O insurance is often associated with large, well-established companies. So, why consider D&O insurance for a software startup? Small companies have more vulnerabilities than their larger counterparts, making it essential to put proper safeguards in place. Here’s what you need to know about D&O coverage for your budding software firm.

Why Should You Consider D&O Insurance for Your Startup?

Startup companies tend to believe that they fly under the radar. Brand-new businesses have a low profile, so what are the odds they’ll find themselves in legal trouble? When you think of lawsuits, you might think of litigation involving major corporations with much money to spare. However, your company has leadership and is at risk of breach of fiduciary duties, contract, and failure to comply with regulations and laws. Private and small businesses can still find themselves in legal hot water.

Here are some of the common reasons a software startup may face legal problems:

  • Miscommunication with the marketing team can create confusion on software specs and result in a lawsuit
  • Missed deadlines due to an emergency or misunderstanding can cause a breach of contract
  • Disputes over company logos and codes
  • Security breaches due to honest mistakes or failed security systems

Novice business owners and executives are more likely to make mistakes. For example, you may catch yourself making unrealistic promises to investors or overlooking statutes, assuming that if they’re minor, they won’t matter.

If your company faces a lawsuit, insurance coverage will protect you and your colleagues from suffering personal losses at the hands of the court system. In many cases, a lawsuit can cost tens of thousands of dollars. With coverage, your business could avoid financial devastation.

In many cases, too, if you choose to use investors to fund the startup, they will ask for D&O insurance. Insurance helps protect their investment and reduce the risk of loss for them. If your new startup has to hire talent, carrying D&O coverage can make a difference in the types of candidates you attract. Someone who expects D&O coverage is more likely to be an experienced leader.

When Should Your Startup Shop for Insurance?

At the launch of your startup, you should already understand the various insurance coverages necessary to protect your business, including D&O coverage. No laws mandate when you should shop for or carry D&O coverage, so you can purchase coverage at your own discretion. Your startup and its leaders will have assets that require protection from when your company becomes legal. Start shopping before your startup’s launch and interact with clients for optimal protection.

What Are the Costs Associated With D&O Insurance?

The cost of your insurance will depend heavily on the size of your company and other details about your business. Oakwood will analyze your anticipated revenue, risk level, and number of employees or officers to determine your needed coverage. We are an expert in startup D&O coverage and can provide a thorough quote after assessing your startup’s needs.

Accepting the Role of D&O Insurance for Your Software Startup

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a startup doesn’t need similar coverage as an established business. Your company is particularly vulnerable in the early stages and may still face legal issues. D&O insurance protects against the loss of assets due to mistakes, miscommunications, and other errors made by the leaders within your startup.

About Oakwood

Oakwood D&O Insurance provides industry leading insurance services, solutions, and counsel to our clients.

Our professionals are valued for their ability to provide outstanding customer service, with a commitment to the relentless pursuit of value-added solutions, results and comprehensive coverage.


Oakwood D&O at Work

One of our clients had been purchasing D&O insurance from the same carrier for several years. We looked at their tower and realized that not only was their primary carrier not A+ rated, they were also paying too much for the primary layer. We were able to move the coverage to A+ rated paper and save the client six figures.