AGs File Motion Against Agents’ Amicus Opposing Zurich Settlements

September 29, 2006

The Attorneys General of 10 states have filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey opposing an amicus brief filed on Sept. 15, 2006, by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA).

The Attorneys General of the States of California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Texas and West Virginia and the Commonwealths of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia contend that the filing of PIA’s Brief of Amicus Curiae is premature at this stage of the litigation.

“The bottom line is, they want us out,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Len Brevik. “We will file our formal response with the court next week.”

On Sept. 15, 2006, PIA filed its brief in opposition to certain aspects of a proposed class settlement with Zurich Insurers that is now before the court. PIA’s objections to the proposed settlement center on a selective ban on the payment of contingent commissions and the mandated use of a flawed disclosure statement that creates legal conflicts.

The AGs filing contends that “PIA’s concerns are more properly reserved for the final fairness hearing – not preliminary approval.” It also states, “PIA’s objections have little to do with the reasonableness of the Settlement, and focus instead on the scope and proper interpretation of the Disclosure Form. These objections are more appropriately raised and considered at the final approval hearing…”

“It is not fair to relegate the concerns of professional insurance agents to a late-stage, final fairness hearing,” Brevik said. “Since there hasn’t been fairness for agents since the beginning of this process, we are not confident that there will be now. Far from being premature, PIA’s participation has been blocked. From the start, PIA agents were rebuffed in all of our attempts to participate in the negotiations that brought this proposed settlement to this point. Now that we have brought our objections directly to the court, the AGs want to relegate agents and their concerns to the back of the bus.”

“Furthermore, contrary to the AGs assertion that PIA’s objections have little to do with the reasonableness of the settlement, that’s exactly what our objections are all about,” Brevik said.

Source: PIA,

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