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For public companies, social accountability can take historically minor events and make them financially material within a matter of hours, and that's a game changer, says Rob Yellen, D&O and Fiduciary Liability Insurance product leader at Willis Towers Watson. (Photo: Shutterstock) For public companies, social accountability can take historically minor events and make them financially material within a matter of hours, and that’s a game changer, says Rob Yellen, D&O and Fiduciary Liability Insurance product leader at Willis Towers Watson. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In the fall of 2017, the #MeToo movement took off, bringing attention — and notoriety — to the widespread problem of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. As a result of this and similar social accountability movements, employment practice liability insurance (EPLI) and directors and officers (D&O) insurance are more needed and sought after than ever in 2019.

Although initial allegations posted in social media focused on the entertainment industry, sexual misconduct on the part of those in positions of power has occurred across businesses and organizations in the private and public sector alike. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data reveal that there was a more than 50% increase in suits challenging sexual harassment in fiscal year 2018 over 2017. Overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for sexual-harassment victims through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY2018, up from $47.5 million in FY2017.

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