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An Illinois brokerage and employee benefits consulting firm has filed suit against a Hub International Ltd. unit, a former client and three former employees on charges including breach of contract.
Downers Grove, Illinois-based Axion RMS Ltd. charged in a complaint filed in state court in Chicago that after doing considerable work on behalf of Chicago-based USC Seguin of Greater Chicago Foundation, a nonprofit disability organization, it dropped Axion as its broker in favor of Hub, and that Hub hired three of its employees in violation of their noncompete or nondisclosure agreements, according to the Sept. 25 complaint in Axion RMS Ltd. v. UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago et. al.
This is not the first lawsuit involving Axion and Hub. In April, an Illinois appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling in favor of Axion’s former president, who is now a Hub official, who was charged with violating his noncompete agreement.
In the latest litigation, Axion says in its complaint that between Dec. 18, 2014, and Nov. 7, 2018, Axion served as UCP Seguin’s broker of record with respect to certain employee health care and life insurance policies maintained by UCP Seguin in conjunction with its employee benefits programs.
During 2018, UCP Seguin requested Axion provide additional services in connection with the development and implementation of a multiyear strategic plan, risk management assessment and the marketing and enrollment of participants in its Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health insurance plan, including the presentation of an annual strategic planning meeting held on June 5, 2018, according to the complaint.
The complaint said in exchange for Axion’s services, UCP Seguin told Axion it would be its broker of record in connection with the BCBS Health insurance plan, and that Axion then devoted “substantial time, resource and personnel” on the project.
In June 2018, an Axion account manager terminated her employment and joined Hub, and in November 2018, UCP Seguin suddenly terminated Axion as its broker of record without prior notice and without compensating Axion “for the substantial work” the broker had done on its behalf, according to the ruling.
The complaint states also that over the past four years, Hub has hired seven former Axion employees and account executives “all of which had access to Axion’s confidential client and proprietary trade secret information, and all of whom had noncompete and/or nondisclosure agreements.”
Among charges in the complaint, UCP Seguin is charged with unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel and Hub with tortious interference and misappropriation of trade secrets, in addition to charges against the three former employees.
It also seeks a preliminary injunction against HUB, and two of the former employees.
Axion CEO James P. Lill had no comment while spokesmen for Hub and UCP Seguin could not immediately be reached.
Hub International Ltd. has acquired insurance agency Cosaint Insurance Partners LLC, which has been recruiting former Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. agents who are transitioning to an independent model.