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Brazil's Lava Jato probe bolsters demand for D&O insurance

Brazil's Lava Jato corruption scandal has increased demand for director and officer insurance, driving segment premiums up 62% between 2014 and 2016 to 381.6 million Brazilian reais, data from insurance regulator Susep showed.

The massive money laundering investigation, where executives allegedly accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices, drove demand for D&O insurance, which in part protects companies against executive decisions that cause financial losses.

The rise in D&O revenue was driven by both higher premiums, as well as by increased demand for the product, Fernando Cirelli, superintendent of financial lines at BR Insurance told Valor Econômico. According to the executive, there are currently between 5,000 and 7,000 D&O insurance policies.

In addition, the cases in which insurers had to pay on D&O policies has also increased. During 2014, when Lava Jato came to light, payments increased 450% compared to 2013. Between 2014 and 2016 the cumulative high was 492.5%, according to Valor.

The rise in compensations has pushed insurers to raise barriers for new policy contracts, which now include coverage exclusion clauses for when corruption is proven.

As of June 2, US$1 was equivalent to 3.24 Brazilian reais.