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25 May 2013
The Federal Court has formally approved the settlement in the $200 million Centro shareholder class action, meaning the issue of who has a priority charge on directors’ and officers’ (D&O) cover now will be challenged in the New Zealand Court of Appeal.
D&O policies had to be rewritten after last year’s Bridgecorp decision, when the NZ High Court ruled that a receiver has first claim on D&O policy proceeds when that claim might exceed the amount of cover, effectively denying company directors and executives funding for legal defence costs.
The Bridgecorp decision is expected to be challenged in the NZ Court of Appeal later this year but it had been raised in the class action against the Centro property company and there was a chance the decision would be overturned in NSW when Centro was heard.
This hasn’t happened because Centro settled out of court, but there was still some uncertainty about the settlement until the Federal Court approved it last week.
Centro held a policy from Chartis, and it’s understood insurance proceeds will pay $38 million of the $200 million settlement.
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