QBE seeks damages after staff quit to launch new business at rival
QBE Management Services is suing three former staff who allegedly set up a new business with Pro Insurance Solutions by raiding their workplace for ten colleagues.
Charles Dymoke, John Hearn and Steven Kirk all worked for British Marine, part of of QBE European Operation’s marine, energy and aviation division. QBE bought British Marine in 2005.
Hearn and Dymoke decided to set up a new business in competition to British Marine around 16 December last year.
While still working for QBE, Dymoke and Hearn had several meetings with Mark Linnell, sales director, of Pro Insurance, to discuss setting up the new venture, according to the writ.
Dymoke, Hearn and Kirk all resigned on April 28 this year, according to papers filed at the High Court.
A month later the trio met with members of recruitment firm TPD Associates to discuss poaching their former workmates, QBE claims.
TPD Associates approached ten of the 13-strong QBE underwriting team and eventually six eventually left to join Pro Insurance.
They were joined by four ‘influential’ QBE claims staff to join the new venture.
The defendants planned to start trading with their new venture on September 1, the writ says.
QBE says it cannot put an exact figure on how much it wants in damages, but is suing for more than £25,000, according to the writ. QBE is also suing Pro Insurance Solutions.
QBE also wants an injunction to stop the defendants from further breaching their covenants.
However, the trio have filed a defence and counterclaim against QBE.
QBE has not suffered any loss or damage from any alleged unlawful conduct, the defence says.
The trio deny that they breached any duty they owed to QBE.
The trio also deny they deliberately planned to poach further QBE staff. Instead the defence says that TPD decided some QBE staff could have been open to job offers. Both parties have declined to respond.