We recognise that each insured organisation will have a wide range of considerations when responding to allegations which may result in civil or criminal liability.
This guidance is to help: i) policyholders to understand what actions they can take without their proposed responses prejudicing their insurance coverage, and ii) victims and survivors of sexual abuse who decide to bring a civil action to understand the principles which Zurich applies when handling civil actions for compensation on behalf of policyholders.
Insured organisations can experience difficult situations where, following their own thorough investigation, they have reached a point where they consider it appropriate to make an apology, or admit fault or liability, but have concerns that to do so may affect their insurance cover.
We wholly support institutions making such apologies when appropriate. This is a decision for each institution dependent upon the facts of the particular allegations.
We recognise that insured organisations will on occasion want to make statements at the earliest opportunity, sometimes prior to the conclusion of Zurich's investigations of the claim under their policy.
In the event that insured organisations choose to carry out their own inquiries, our policy is to encourage them to take their own legal advice to ensure that they properly carry out an examination of the facts. This is so that insured organisations do not report on matters in a way that is defamatory in the event that there are wrongly accused defendants, and that they do so in accordance with a proper process.
We understand that policyholders may want to share investigation findings or admit fault or liability before the conclusion of any insurer-led investigation.
Acknowledging the abuse circumstances will not normally prejudice the policyholder's liability position, but we encourage insured organisations to take their own legal advice to ensure they properly carry out an examination of the facts.