David B. Austin and R-T Specialty, a division of Chicago-based Ryan Specialty Group, agreed to an August 27th court order barring Austin’s use of records of about 266 AmWINS clients for one year – however, R-T is allowed to accept business from those clients as long as Austin is not involved.
Tim Turner, president and CEO of R-T Specialty, told a reporter that AmWINS “never proved that (Austin) violated his noncompete agreement” with AmWINS, adding that Mr. Austin “lived up to his employment agreement” with the wholesale insurance brokerage.
Austin worked for AmWINS from 2005 until May of this year. As part of his employment, Austin signed an agreement saying that he would not disclose or use any confidential information he had as an employee of AmWINS or Stewart Smith Group Inc., which was acquired by AmWINS from Willis Group Holdings Ltd. in 2005, according to the complaint.
According to court documents, soon after Austin left AmWINS and began working for R-T Specialty, AmWINS began losing clients to R-T.
AmWINS also alleges that R-T Specialty is in the practice of poaching employees from established firms in order to build their client base. According to BusinessInsurance.com, AmWINS’ complaint uses R-T’s President, Tim Turner, as an example. Turner was president of wholesale brokerage CRC Insurance Services Inc. in January, before moving over to R-T.
Three days after his departure from CRC, R-T and Turner filed a lawsuit in California against CRC to void the noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements Turner signed when he was with CRC, according to the complaint.
“R-T Specialty has only ‘expanded’ by massive raids previously unparalleled in scope followed by strategic filing of lawsuits bent on voiding more than 100 employment agreements,” AmWINS said in its complaint. “Members of the industry are understandably concerned that it is open season for their employees and customers.”
Turner denied the allegations to BusinessInsurance.com.