Insurance professionals ordered to mediate suit involving brokerage contract for Bethalto school district

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | May 1, 2019

Two insurance professionals have been ordered to mediate their dispute in a suit involving a joint venture to provide insurance brokerage services to Bethalto Community Unit School District #8.

On April 24, Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth ordered the parties to mediate the claim in the next 60 days.

Plaintiff David Wiegand filed his complaint on Oct. 18, 2018, against Kerry Baugher and Baugher Financial & Associates Inc.

The plaintiff claims he began working with Don Clark in 1999 as insurance agents for the Bethalto school district. Shortly after, Clark, Wiegand and Baugher allegedly agreed to run cases through Baugher Financial in order to qualify for production bonuses. At the time, Clark and Wiegand received 100 percent of the commissions and 50 percent of the bonuses form the accounts.

Beginning in 2013, Baugher became involved in the provision of insurance brokerage services to Bethalto and he began to share commissions equally with Wiegand and Clark, each receiving 1/3 of the commissions.

Clark retired in 2013. Wiegand and Baugher each purchased 1/6 of Clark’s share of the Bethalto account, leaving them each with half of the commissions and bonuses from the Bethalto account.

However, in 2014, Wiegand claims Baugher initiated efforts to exclude him from participating in the Bethalto account.

“For instance, Baugher scheduled meetings with key personnel at Bethalto for particular times, but would begin closed-door meetings with these individuals prior to the scheduled start times in order to prevent plaintiff from participating.”

Despite Baugher’s alleged efforts to exclude the plaintiff, Wiegand claims he and his staff continued to attend meetings.

Then in 2015, Baugher merged Baugher Financial with Cornerstone Insurance Group. During a meeting with Wiegand, Baugher allegedly represented that he was retaining ownership of all of his client accounts, but Cornerstone would be receiving 35 percent of Baugher’s commissions. Baugher allegedly informed Wiegand that he was not going to continue to pay the plaintiff his full share of the Bethalto commissions and bonuses.

Wiegand alleges Baugher threatened that if he did not accept the reduction, then Baugher would seek to prevent the plaintiff from any further involvement in the Bethalto account.

During a May 25, 2018 meeting with Baugher, Wiegand learned that Assured Partners, a national insurance brokerage based in Florida, had acquired Cornerstone.

Wiegand alleges Baugher attempted to discourage Bethalto from continuing to work with the plaintiff.

The defendants answered the complaint on Nov. 21, denying liability.

“Though defendant continues to deny he owes anything to plaintiff under any theory of recovery, should plaintiff be awarded any damages, those damages should be offset by one-half of any bonuses received by plaintiff not received by defendants, Kerry Baugher or Baugher Financial for the years 2014 through the present,” the affirmative defenses state.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 18-L-1401

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Bethalto Community Unit School District Madison County Circuit Court

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