Groupama is refusing to disclose the findings of an investigation into one of its agents, a Staffordshire intermediary, that has admitted ripping off working men's clubs when placing premiums.

Insurance Times revealed in June that Lloyd Manley had charged grossly inflated administration fees to several working men's clubs.

Three months previously in March, the intermediary had renewed a £3081 premium for the West Sutton Labour Club in St Helens and pocketed £700 in undisclosed fees. The year before in 1999, it charged the same club a nearly £600 for a premium of £2,915.

Groupama immediately sent two senior staff to investigate the incidents.

And other investigations were undertaken by the Association of British Insurers' monitoring team, the wholesale broker John W. Beard which had 50 clubs insured on a sub-agency basis through the intermediary, and by Lloyd Manley itself.

This week Groupama managing director Stephen Hartigan said its findings were not in the public interest. “We have no comment to make,” he said. “We did what we had to do. I do not see what else will be achieved by airing this in the press.”

He added that Groupama had not cancelled its agency agreement with Lloyd Manley.

Meanwhile, a row has broken out between Lloyd Manley and John W. Beard over the number of clubs involved, casting a shadow over Hartigan's claims that the matter is now resolved.

Director John Beard claims to have found 15 cases of overcharging out of 23 investigated.

“It is unlikely that we will know the full number until all our 50 clubs have either reported back to us or issued renewals of policy,” he said.

But Lloyd Manley director John Bateman said that out of the 400 clubs on its books there were only a few cases of overcharging.

“I am not prepared to say how many, but out of 400, it was a minority. The clubs have all been contacted and the money refunded. I disagree with the figure of 15.”

Bateman said the overcharging incidents were carried out by a former member of staff.

He added that the firm now had sufficient staff and work procedures to prevent further overcharging cases.

In the original story, he blamed the renewal of an excessive fee after the departure of the employee on the firm's lack of manpower.

And in an earlier letter to working men's clubs from himself and fellow director Graham Pedley, they stated: “We were aware of this [the overcharging] and several others prior to the article appearing.

“This club at the time was dealt with by [name omitted] an employee who was dismissed by us for gross misconduct last year. The alarmist reports in the press were instigated by [the employee].

“We have since rectified the situation with the club to their satisfaction.”

An ABI spokesperson said that it was unable to comment on an individual case.