Marsh woes continue as London executive is dismissed

By Andrew Cave

12:01AM GMT 04 Nov 2004

Marsh, the American insurance broking giant, has dismissed an executive in its London operations, it confirmed yesterday.

Julian Taylor, a senior vice-president of Marsh’s terrorism insurance unit, was suspended while Marsh examined allegations that he charged a client "slip commission" (individual commission on an insurance deal) when a global commission fee had been paid.

Mr Taylor has now been dismissed for alleged misconduct.

The action is understood to be entirely unrelated to last month’s decision by Marsh UK chief executive, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, to bring in law firm Freshfields.

The law firm was given the task of auditing Marsh’s business practices in London in the wake of the investigation into Marsh in the US by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer.

Mr Spitzer’s inquiry centres on so-called premium service agreements under which insurers pay fees to brokers in return for business.

Freshfields has set up a base in Marsh’s Tower Hill headquarters and has been given unhindered access to all Marsh employees and documents.

Interviews have been held with heads of business to discover whether any unauthorised payments were made.

Mr Taylor’s case was not dealt with by this unit, but by Marsh’s compliance function.

A Marsh spokesman told the Insurance Insider trade journal: "Marsh has suspended a London-based individual for misconduct. This is totally unrelated to the allegations contained within the New York attorney general’s civil lawsuit against Marsh in the US.

"As the matter is in the hands of solicitors it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time." Marsh has moved quickly since Mr Spitzer alleged it is part of a cartel that fixes prices and squeezes out competition.

Last week, it announced the resignation of chief executive Jeffrey Greenberg, part of America’s powerful Greenberg industry dynasty.

Marsh may have to pay up to $500m (£270m) in fines to settle Mr Spitzer’s charges, although the atttorney general has suggested that the figure could be even higher.

Marsh has also announced that it is setting up a $230m compensation fund.

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