Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is suing nine former employees and competitor Aspen Insurance Holding Limited.  Liberty alleges that Bermuda-based Aspen and the employees, all of whom resigned between Jan. 14 and Jan. 20 of this year, “unlawfully conspired (and continue to conspire) to breach duties of loyalty owed to Liberty, raid Liberty’s business operations, and misappropriate Liberty’s trade secrets and goodwill.”

The complaint says Bruce Eisler, former SVP at Professional Liability Division of the Liberty International Underwriters (LIU) unit, began communicating with Aspen in December 2009. “By virtue of his position, Eisler gained access to Plaintiffs’ most highly confidential proprietary information and trade secrets, including extensive data about Plaintiffs’ personnel, broker and program administrator relationships, insureds and their policies, ratings and rating engines, policy expiration and renewal dates and pricing,” the complaint reads. “The en masse departure of nine key employees of LIU’s professional liability insurance unit was clearly the result of Aspen’s conspiracy with Eisler and/or the other Individual Defendants—who at the time were still employed by Liberty—to recruit the Liberty employees whom they supervised. The purpose of the conspiracy is clear: to move the necessary infrastructure for a successful professional liability insurance operation-including personnel, confidential proprietary information and trade secrets-from LIU to Aspen, so that Aspen, without expending the time and funds necessary to lawfully develop a competitive professional liability insurance business, could nonetheless compete against Liberty sooner than it would be able to otherwise, and at a time when Liberty’s ability to compete would be weakened by the departure of key employees.”

Eisler was unavailable for comment.

"We are aware of the complaint filed against Aspen by Liberty in the New York County Court,” an Aspen spokesperson tells Insurance Networking News. “Whilst it is not our policy to comment on ongoing litigation matters we believe that the case is without merit and will act accordingly."

Liberty’s lawsuit echoes one filed in July 2009 by The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., which accused New York-based Arch Insurance Group Inc., and its Bermuda-based parent Arch Capital Group Ltd., of stealing trade secrets in addition to many of The Hartford’s underwriters.

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