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Tracking old policies can pose challenge

Posted On: Aug. 1, 2019 12:00 AM CST

Old insurance policies

Securing accurate and complete historical insurance information during a merger or acquisition is a key part of due diligence but can be a daunting task, experts say.

“You want to make sure you have access to as much history as possible of the company you are acquiring,” said Matthew Schneider, co-CEO of M&A and transaction solutions for Aon PLC in New York. “If you can get the historical coverage that can help as well.”

“Typically, the risk manager goes to the data room to scrape up whatever information is available,” said John Kelly, founder and managing partner at risk consultants Hanover Stone Partners LLC in New York.

Details on historical insurance coverage, however, can be hard to find, he said.

“Very often, old historical policies are not put into the data years,” and may extend back only five years or so, Mr. Kelly said. Policies offering potential coverage for longtail liabilities may not be in the data room, he said.

Acquirers must be aware of “the limitation of information and the availability of information,” Mr. Schneider said.

“You can always ask for more information, but you can’t always get more information.”