Marine broker accused of trying to poach business from former employer

London Market Insurance Brokers (LMIB) is headed for a High Court showdown with Kevin Mills, formerly its most senior marine broker.

In a High Court writ, the Lloyd’s broker has accused Mills of trying to poach clients to a rival business, and says it has lost brokerage fees from at least one company which changed its brokers after his approaches.

Mills gave a month’s notice that he was leaving on 30 July this year, and was told he did not need to go to work until his notice ran out on 30 August, according to the writ.

But before then, he contacted LMIB’s client Hugo Foods International, in a bid to poach its business, and other clients contacted London with a view to moving their accounts, the writ says.

Hugo Foods declined to renew its insurance cover with LMIB after his approach, it is alleged.

Other clients he approached included Seacold Seafoods, whose account is worth $100,000 a year to LMIB, it is claimed.

LMIB also alleges that Mills had phoned Nicholas Goh, managing director of Seacold Seafoods, suggesting he “could take the business over”, the writ says.

The company was told that Mills had started work at rival Bannerman Rendell’s, and had just come back from a business trip to Egypt, where LMIB has various clients with whom Mills had dealt, the writ claims. When contacted, Bannerman Rendell’s refused to comment or confirm Mills worked there.

When LMIB employee Neil Martin had a chance meeting with Mills in October, he asked him three times where he was now working, but Mills refused to say.

LMIB claims that Mills has broken the confidentiality and restraint of trade terms of his contract, and that unless restrained by a court order, he will commit other breaches of his condition.

LMIB is seeking an order banning Mills from disclosing any company information, and from soliciting business with any clients with whom he had dealings until 1 September 2008.

The company is also suing Mills, of Mottingham, London, for damages limited to £50,000.

In a statement LMIB said it had issued a High Court claim against its former employee Kevin Mills alleging that he had breached the terms of his contract of employment.

“A claim has been made by LMIB against Mr Mills for damages and an injunction. The trial is expected to be listed for hearing in January 2008,” the statement said.