Aon sues Marsh companies for causing “irreparable injury"

Lawsuit paints a tawdry tale of deceptive trade practices and illicit gathering of secret data

Aon sues Marsh companies for causing “irreparable injury"

Insurance News

By Ryan Smith

Aon Consulting has sued Marsh Inc. and its subsidiary, Marsh & McLennan Agency, for allegedly gaining unauthorized access to Aon data.

The lawsuit charges Marsh and Marsh & McLennan with misappropriation of trade secrets and deceptive trade practices. Aon alleges that Marsh and Marsh & McLennan obtained Aon survey data and used it in their own business.

Aon offers compensation data surveys to its customers, according to the lawsuit. Access to the data – which comes from about 3,000 different organizations – is restricted. In order to gain access, participating organizations agree to conditions on how the survey reports can be used. Access is gained through a secure website, using Aon-provided login credentials.

Marsh and Marsh & McLennan Agency, meanwhile, offer compensation consulting services through their San Diego-based business unit, Barney & Barney Insurance Services. Aon claims that the Marsh companies gained access to its restricted data by using a participating organization’s login credentials, then used the information to in their own compensation consulting services.

Aon claimed in the lawsuit that it “has suffered irreparable injury” as a result of the Marsh companies’ actions. Aon is seeking damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs, and a permanent injunction.

Aon also recently sued competitor Willis Towers Watson over the hiring of an executive. Willis hired former PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant Michael J. Burwell as its chief financial officer. Burwell started with Willis on Monday. The same day, Aon sued, alleging that Burwell had worked with Aon as a consultant and knew the company’s trade secrets. Taking the job with Willis, Aon claimed, was a violation of Burwell’s fiduciary duty. Willis said Wednesday that the companies had resolved that dispute, although terms were confidential.

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