News Releases

New Podcast from ACE USA Discusses Corporate Climate Change Litigation and Disclosure Liability Considerations for Directors & Officers
The Latest in a Series of ACE Progress Reports, Critical Research on Current and Emerging Risk Management Issues
Jun 24, 2009

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ACE USA, the U.S.-based retail operating division of the ACE Group, today launched a new audio podcast discussing climate change-related litigation against companies and the disclosure liability for directors and officers of publicly-traded companies.

In the podcast, Carol Zacharias, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel of ACE Professional Risk is joined by William P. Hazelton, Senior Vice President of ACE Environmental Risk, as they discuss a report authored by Ms. Zacharias, “Climate Change is Heating Up D&O Liability.” This commentary is a part of ACE Progress ReportsSM, a collection of white papers, articles and executive reports on current and emerging risk management issues. Ms. Zacharias’ article also appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of John Liner Review. In the discussion, Mr. Hazelton and Ms. Zacharias examine the existing laws and regulations that have been applied in recent corporate climate change litigation and resulting settlements that have set high standards for management disclosure, analysis, and assessment of the financial impact of climate risk. They also address new and proposed federal, state, and foreign laws that could create more restrictions and obligations for companies, providing the basis for potential additional litigation.

“Climate change-related litigation against companies has already started, and several settlements have already set unprecedented standards for detailed management disclosure under existing laws. Where management disclosure duties exist, liability exposure for directors and officers exists as well,” said Ms. Zacharias. “Companies are now evaluating whether, when, and to what extent climate changes or the impact of climate change regulations present material risks and warrant further disclosures. And, with increased exposure comes the risk of increased liability, since directors and officers can be liable for omissions or material misrepresentations. So, the disclosure decision is critical.”

Mr. Hazelton commenting further on the findings of the co-authored report said, “Not surprisingly, shareholders are also demanding more and more climate change risk disclosures from the companies in which they invest. In addition to regulators and shareholders, various advocacy groups are also asking for greater climate change-related disclosures by corporations. Asset managers and leading U.S. institutional investors have requested that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) require corporations to provide greater disclosure about climate change exposure and management.”

To access the ACE USA audio podcast program (approximately sixteen minutes in length), please To access the co-authored report, please The material presented in the podcast is not intended to provide legal or other expert advice. It is presented for general information only. Listeners of this podcast should consult legal counsel or other experts, as applicable, with any questions.

ACE USA is the U.S.-based retail operating division of the ACE Group, headed by ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE), and is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company and A+ (Strong) by Standard & Poor’s. ACE USA, through its underwriting companies, provides insurance products and services throughout the U.S. Additional information on ACE USA and its products and services can be found at The ACE Group provides insurance and reinsurance for a diverse group of clients around the world.


Carla Ferrara