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JLT to cough up millions in Willis poaching lawsuit

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Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C. will pay about £22 million ($31.3 million) to settle a lawsuit filed in London in which Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. alleged that JLT had poached its fine art, jewelry and specie division employees, JLT said Friday.

Willis filed the suit against JLT, JLT Specialty Ltd. and former Willis employee David Gordon over the unauthorized recruiting of Mr. Gordon and other Willis employees in 2015. The suit came as Willis sought to sell the division and other operations to Miller Insurance Services L.L.P.

“A provision of approximately £22 million will be charged as part of second-quarter results as a consequence of the settlement, relating to the settlement itself and associated costs, and is incremental to any previously raised litigation provisions,” said JLT in a statement posted on its website. “This charge will be treated as an exceptional item and included in net litigation costs, as it is unrelated to the underlying business and trading performance of the group.”

JLT added that the terms of the settlement are “final and confidential, and the matter is now closed.” JLT declined further comment through an outside spokeswoman.

Willis did not reply immediately regarding the settlement.

JLT is also currently being sued for alleged poaching by Aon P.L.C. In a suit filed in February in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, Aon accused current JLT Specialty Insurance Services Inc. CEO Michael Rice and six others of violating their agreements not to compete against Aon for two years after leaving the company.

The suit also accused JLT Specialty Insurance Services Inc. and JLT Re (North America) Inc. of inducing the former Aon employees to violate their noncompete agreements and a “coordinated effort” with “certain other former Aon and current JLT employees” to engage in “multiple raids on Aon's officers, employees and clients” since August 2014.