ILNews

Employee defection sparks battle between brokerages

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A legal battle has broken out between two insurance brokerages, with Hylant Group alleging Huntington Insurance hired one of its former employees who then lured away two of its clients.

Toledo,Ohio-based Hylant, which has offices in Carmel, alleges former employee Nicholas Iaonnacci, of Indianapolis, violated a two-year non-compete clause of his employment agreement by going to work for Huntington’s Indianapolis office last summer.

Before resigning from Hylant on June 24, Iaonnacci allegedly emailed confidential Hylant information to his personal email account, Hylant alleges in a lawsuit filed last month in Hamilton Superior Court. The email included passwords to databases and a database of prospective clients, the brokerage alleges.

But attorneys for Huntington and Iaonnacci this month filed to transfer the case to U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. They argued federal court was the appropriate venue, given Hylant’s allegations that Iaonnacci violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

According to Hylant’s complaint, a month after Iaonnacci left for Huntington it received notice from the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. that it was discontinuing its relationship with Hylant.

In March of this year, Hylant lost another client, IDI Fabrication in Noblesville.

“After thoughtful consideration — and three months of trying to track him down — we are going to continue our relationship with Nick Iaonnacci at Huntington,” states a letter IDI’s chief financial officer wrote to Hylant, according to its suit.

Hylant contends it placed a two-year non-compete clause in its employment contract with Iaonnacci because the insurance industry relies heavily upon relationships between brokers and customers that are developed over time.

“In the insurance industry, once a customer is obtained, the reasonable anticipation is that the customer will remain with the broker, continuing to renew policies on an annual basis and earning additional revenue for the broker,” Hylant said in its complaint.

The dollar value of the lost contracts is not quantified in the complaint.

Hylant accuses Huntington of tortuous interference, unjust enrichment and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It wants the court to enforce Iaonnacci’s employment agreement and seeks an unspecified amount of damages for the lost value of business.

Brent Wilder, spokesman for the Columbus, Ohio-based parent of Huntington Insurance, Huntington Bancshares, said it typically doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Huntington Insurance ranks in the 50 largest agent/brokerage agencies in the U.S. Its Indianapolis office is at 45 N. Pennsylvania St. Hylant has metro area offices at 301 Pennsylvania Parkway in Carmel, where it counts about 60 employees.

Hylant has more than $135 million in premiums written in Indiana and was the 11th largest Indianapolis-area independent insurance agency/brokerage in 2013, according to IBJ research.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

ADVERTISEMENT