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Aon PLC sued Alliant Insurance Services Inc. and 10 of its former employees Monday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, charging it had launched a “premeditated unlawful raid” on Aon’s facultative reinsurance group.
The lawsuit, Aon PLC, Aon Corp. and Aon FAC Inc. v. Alliant Insurance Services Inc., Louis Ambriano et al., charges that beginning on April 19, Alliant used its “illicit playbook” to hire 26 Aon employees, take business from Aon’s top U.S. facultative reinsurance clients and obtain confidential and trade secret information.
The lawsuit seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against the former employees, a return of all Aon documents in their possession and damages, among other demands.
The lawsuit states Alliant’s conduct was an attempt “to steal Aon’s U.S. facultative reinsurance broking business to gain entry into the reinsurance market and jumpstart the launch of Alliant Re,” and that Alliant did not have a reinsurance division nor did it compete in the reinsurance broking industry before the “raid.”
Alliant’s actions showed “blatant disregard for the Former Employees’ confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-servicing obligations to Aon,” the lawsuit says.
Alliant announced April 25 that it was introducing a reinsurance brokerage division and had hired Nicholas Ambriano, who as executive managing director had overseen Aon’s national facultative reinsurance operation.
The lawsuit cites dozens of lawsuits filed against Alliant by various brokers.
It charges defendants with violating the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act; breach of contract; intentional interference with contractual relations; tortious interference with prospective economic advantage; breach of fiduciary duty; aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty; and conspiracy.
Alliant said in a statement issued late Tuesday that it “has experienced extraordinary growth over the last decade. Competitors have sought to suppress employee mobility through the excessive use of litigation. Aon has a history of filing such lawsuits. In the only two cases between the parties that have gone to trial, Alliant and its insurance professionals have prevailed.”
It said also, “Alliant has strict hiring protocols designed to ensure that new hires return all property and equipment to former employers and do not engage in any improper acquisition, use, or disclosure of confidential, proprietary, or trade secret information. Alliant instructs prospective employees to act solely on behalf of their current employer until they resign. Alliant will vigorously defend against Aon’s allegations concerning the departure of employees from Aon’s U.S. Facultative Reinsurance group.”
Aon did not respond to a request for comment.