PIB and former director reach court action agreement

Case centred on client transfer, contract breach and cover allegations

PIB and former director reach court action agreement

Professional Risks

By Jen Frost

PIB and the former director and general manager of its Lincoln office, Ian Lewis, have agreed terms to stay legal proceedings in a case that centred on alleged employment contract breaches, client transfers, and directors & officers’ coverage (D&O) issues.

The terms of the agreement are confidential, according to a judge’s order filed 13 March 2023

PIB had accused Lewis of having breached his contract and pointed to a series of “inherently suspicious” spate of client transfers to rival broker Romero, where Lewis has worked since 27 June 2022 following a period of garden leave.

It had further accused Lewis of having deleted records from his company devices, and of having told a colleague he intended to move to Romero despite denying this when approached by his employer. PIB had also alleged that Lewis had been in contact with a leader at the competitor in May 2021, something it accused him of having denied later that year.

This is according to court documents, previously reported on by Insurance Business.

PIB vs Ian Lewis – the defence and counterclaim

In Lewis’ defence and counterclaim, filed prior to the agreement and seen by Insurance Business, it was alleged that the broker’s directors and officers (D&O) cover underwritten by AIG for PIB included an exclusion “so unusual in and significant in its consequences as to render the policy unfit for purpose” and had left him without financial support for the case after the insurer rescinded cover in October 2022.

“No party arranging insurance, let alone an insurance organisation which arranges insurance contracts in the ordinary course of its business, would permit such an endorsement or, if obliged to do so, it would advise the beneficiaries of the existence and effect of the exclusion,” it was alleged in the counterclaim.

Lewis had further alleged that prior to his 25 June 2021 resignation he was “being treated by PIB Group as a scapegoat” for client losses and it was due to this that he was “demoralised and disillusioned in his role and contemplating a career change”, the defence document claimed.

Lewis had denied “any involvement” in the alleged suspicious transfers, according to the defence and counterclaim court documents.

It was further denied that his May 2021 contact with Romero group managing director Simon Mabb had amounted to any breach of contract or of “other alleged duties and obligations” to PIB, according to the court documents.

Further, Lewis’ defence document stated that “in the absence of proper particularisation of the conversations alleged” regarding PIB allegations he had told a colleague he would be switching to Romero, he was unable to admit or deny these.

While it was accepted in the defence document that Lewis had deleted information from his mobile phone, this was solely “personal information”, it was claimed.

Both PIB and Lewis had sought costs, damages and interest in the suit, which was filed in the King’s Bench Division of the High Court.

Insurance Business has reached out to PIB and Lewis for comment and will update in due course if received.

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