(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that The ACE Group, a commercial casualty insurer with operations worldwide, has agreed to pay $1.97 million to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of Ohio's antitrust laws.
ACE is alleged to have conspired with various insurers and with insurance broker Marsh & McLennan to eliminate competition in the commercial casualty insurance market. The state's complaint, filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, alleges that ACE, the other insurers and Marsh entered into a conspiracy in which, from 2001 through 2004, the insurers agreed not to compete with each other for certain insurance accounts and customers in Ohio and nationwide. ACE denies the allegations in the complaint. The State opened this investigation into the business practices of ACE and the other firms in 2004.
"Today's settlement should send a message that we will vigorously enforce the antitrust laws of this state in order to ensure that Ohio's citizens and its businesses get the benefit of a healthy competitive marketplace," Attorney General DeWine said. "I take very seriously any allegation of a scheme that has overcharged and thus weakened Ohio's employers and has put Ohio families at risk."
The settlement with ACE is the latest in a series of settlements resulting from this investigation and subsequent litigation and brings the total recovered by Attorney General DeWine's office in connection with this probe to more than $30 million. From those recoveries, nearly $6 million has already been distributed to Ohio public entities alleged to have been injured by the unlawful activity, including universities, cities, counties, and state agencies.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti: 614-466-3840
Settlement Agreement (PDF)