Alliant hits back against Aon poaching allegations

Alliant hits back against Aon poaching allegations

Alliant Defends Against Aon Poaching Allegations | Insurance Business America

It was sued for alleged “unlawful raids” on employees

insurance news

By Gia Snape

Aon has sued Alliant and 10 former Aon employees, alleging Alliant used an “illegal playbook” to hire 26 Aon employees for its new reinsurance broker, Alliant Re.

In its lawsuit in Chicago District Court, Aon also alleged that Alliant poached business from its key facultative reinsurance customers and received confidential information and trade secrets.

It’s an allegation that Alliant, which itself has accused Aon of engaging in “excessive litigation,” has vigorously defended the allegation.

What is Aon’s lawsuit against Alliant about?

In its filings late last month, Aon claimed that Alliant’s conduct was aimed at “entering the reinsurance market and advancing the launch of Alliant Re.” She accused Alliant of poaching around 32% of its facultative reinsurance group.

“Prior to the raid, Alliant had no reinsurance division and did not compete in the reinsurance broking industry,” Aon said in court documents.

In addition, Aon accused its former employees of accessing dozens of confidential folders and files days before they left.

Alliant responds to allegations of poaching by Aon employees

Alliant is “excited” to welcome new talented reinsurance professionals to Alliant Re, said in response to the lawsuit, Peter Arkley, Alliant’s president of retail real estate and casualty insurance.

“Although our competitors may not like it, Alliant is changing the way our customers approach risk management and benefits,” Arkley said.

In a statement to Insurance Business, Alliant promised to fight the lawsuit “vigorously.”

“Alliant has strict hiring protocols designed to ensure that new employees return all property and equipment to former employers and do not engage in the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of confidential, proprietary or trade secrets,” the statement said.

“Alliant instructs prospective employees to act solely on behalf of their current employer until they resign.

“Alliant will vigorously defend itself against allegations by Aon regarding the departure of employees from Aon’s US facultative reinsurance group.”

The company also defended itself against Aon’s claims. Because the company has experienced “extraordinary growth” over the past decade, “competitors have attempted to stifle employee mobility through the overuse of litigation,” it said.

“Aon has filed such lawsuits in the past. In the only two cases between the parties that went to court, Alliant and its insurance experts prevailed,” Alliant’s statement continued.

Looking back on one such previous case, Heffernan v. Aon Risk Services Companies, Alliant said:

“Heffernan had the right to pursue any lawful employment and business of his choosing, including conducting business of the same nature as that conducted by Aon, to provide professional services to clients for whom he worked at Aon.”

History of poaching lawsuits against Alliant

The new case opens a new chapter in the legal battle between the two companies.

In 2020, the pair settled a poaching lawsuit after a group of Aon construction brokers switched to Alliant.

The case, Peter Baldwin et al v. Aon Risk Services Companies et al, began after employees left Aon’s California offices in 2014 and joined Alliant, based in Newport Beach. More than 60 other Aon employees later followed.

After an eight-week trial, the jury acquitted the producers of breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting fiduciary duty, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and theft of trade secrets.

In Heffernan v. Aon Risk Services Companies, Aon alleged that its former director, Michael Heffernan, violated restrictive covenants, statutory and common law obligations, and that Alliant facilitated those violations.

After Heffernan left Aon in 2016, 26 employees followed him to Alliant’s San Jose office. The California Supreme Court ruled that Aon’s agreements were unenforceable.

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