Broker claims it lost 63 clients to Wentworth Alexander

Royal Courts of Justice

Bluefin Insurance Services is suing Northamptonshire broker Wentworth Alexander and two former Bluefin staff, claiming that they used secret information to take clients.

Bluefin claims in a High Court writ that it has lost 63 clients paying £700,000 in annual revenue to Wentworth between January and June.

The row stems back to 2010 and 2011, a year after Bluefin employee Barry Capon left the company.

Capon joined Paul McCann, who left Bluefin in December 2010 and Godfrey Hammon, who departed the consolidator in May 2011, it is claimed.

The trio planned to take Bluefin’s business for their newly established broker, called Wentworth Alexander, the court documents say.

Bluefin claims that Capon and/or Godfrey Hammon persuaded Bluefin employees Alex Hammon, Mark Banks, Alex Mitchell and Anthony Kearns to stagger their resignation dates so that they all left Bluefin at the end of December 2011.

All now work for Wentworth, which got FSA approval in September last year.

The writ only has Mitchell and Kearns as individual defendants; they are the two ex-Bluefin staff being sued along with Wentworth.

The writ said that Mitchell and Kearns had breached their contracts and duties by using confidential Bluefin information and not handing it back when they left, and that Wentworth encouraged this.

Bluefin’s claim said it could not put a value on its loss, but that Wentworth, Mitchell and Kearns should pay compensation.

Wentworth filed defence papers that would not admit that Mitchell and Kearns took any useable confidential Bluefin information or trade secrets, however.

Wentworth denied that Capon and Godfrey Hammon plotted to take any Bluefin business, and denied that they co-ordinated the resignations of Alex Hammon, Banks, Mitchell and Kearns.

Wentworth also denied that Mitchell and Kearns had knowingly handed over secret Bluefin information, and that the three defendants had conspired to hurt Bluefin’s business.

The defence said: “The alleged conspiracy has not been properly pleaded and is embarrassing for its lack of particulars.”

Wentworth’s defence also challenged Bluefin to prove it had lost the £700,000 of business, and that this was the fault of the three defendants.

Capon said: “We all look forward to the opportunity in open court to expose these groundless allegations.” 

Bluefin declined to comment.