Companies caught up in New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer's investigation into rigged bids and kickbacks in the insurance industry began firing and suspending executives charged with or suspected of involvement in the alleged wrongdoing.
Ace Ltd., an insurance firm named but not charged in Spitzer's complaint accusing the nation's largest insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos. of conspiring with insurers to steer particular corporate liability contracts to chosen firms, announced Thursday that it fired two executives and suspended three others.
The two fired employees are Geoffrey Gregory, president of the Bermuda-based firm's casualty risk unit, and Patricia Abrams, a desk underwriter who pleaded guilty last month to criminal bid-rigging. Ace did not identify the three suspended employees but said they all worked in the same unit on a team that primarily did business with Marsh.
A spokesman for Marsh & McLennan also confirmed Thursday that the firm fired four executives and suspended one from its insurance broker subsidiary Marsh Inc. Spitzer has charged the firm with civil fraud. Marsh & McLennan replaced chief executive Jeffrey W. Greenberg last week after Spitzer made it clear that he would not negotiate with the company under its leadership at the time.
The firm declined to identify the fired executives. Sources said the highest-ranking one was William Gilman, executive director of marketing. His lawyer could not be located for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that three other Marsh employees mentioned in Spitzer's complaint were also fired. They are Edward McNenney, Gregory Doherty and Glenn Bosshardt. Their lawyers could not be found for comment.
Spitzer's Marsh complaint said Gilman "strictly enforced" the bid-rigging in which Marsh would designate a winner and ask other carriers to submit phony bids in order to make it appear that competition had occurred. The complaint also said Gilman once warned American International Group, a carrier named but not charged in the complaint, that it "would lose its entire book of business" if it stopped submitting overpriced bids when Marsh asked for them. Gilman wrote that Marsh "protected AIG's [expletive]" and expected the firm to help Marsh in return.
AIG suspended two executives, Karen Radke and Jean-Baptist Tateossian, who have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the Spitzer investigation.