Tillery, SimmonsCooper sue Illinois insurance broker

Jeff Gelber Oct. 27, 2004, 12:01pm


That didn't take long.

One day after the Illinois insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher announced it would no longer collect now-controversial 'contingency fees' from insurance companies, East Alton plaintiff's firm SimmonsCooper, LLC filed a class action lawsuit against it in Madison County Circuit Court.

Trial lawyer Stephen Tillery, of Philip Morris $10.1 billion verdict fame, is representing the firm.

Conveniently for SimmonsCooper, for the complaint's 'named plaintiff' it named itself, as the law firm says it has purchased health and life insurance through Gallagher.

The complaint charges Gallagher with violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act as well as "breach of fiduciary duty and disgorgement."

Democrat New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest insurance broker, over contingency fees in mid-October. He claims the brokers have a conflict-of-interest when they accept the payments.

Gallagher, based the western Chicago suburb of Itasca, is the world's fourth largest insurance broker.

Last week, the second and third largest brokers, Chicago-based Aon and Britain-based Willis Group Holdings, announced they would no longer accept contingency payments.

Circuit Judge George Moran has been assigned the case. No hearing has been scheduled.

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