Class-Action Insurance Suit Has Several Connecticut Connections

By Dan Haar (Hartford, CT)
August 25, 2010

A number of well-known Connecticut insurance firms are named as defendants in a previously dismissed, class action lawsuit that has been reopened following a decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit -- which is tied to the bid-rigging allegations against a number of well-known insurance companies that first came to light in 2004 -- seeks compensation for insurance-buyers that claim they paid inflated prices for commercial and employee benefits coverage.

The Connecticut-area insurance companies originally named as defendants in the lawsuit include The Hartford, Travelers, USI Consulting Group, Cigna, MetLife, and Prudential.

Also of note: There are a number of Connecticut connections among the original lead plaintiffs in the case, which include the cities of Stamford and Danbury, Farmington-based Connecticut Spring and Stamping and OptiCare Health Systems Inc. (formerly headquartered in Waterbury.)

Mega-broker Marsh & McLennan paid $69 million -- not including lawyers and others' fees -- to settle its involvement in this case last year. In a separate case, Marsh also paid the state of Connecticut $2.4 million to settle charges of bid-rigging and price fixing brought by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Last week's decision remands the case to federal district court in New Jersey, which will decide whether some of the companies named in the suit can be sued under antitrust and anti-racketeering laws.
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