A Philadelphia jury has awarded $18.9 million to the Philadelphia-based Graham Co. in a copyright infringement suit against USI MidAtlantic Inc. and former Graham employee Thomas P. Haughey, who joined USI in 1991. In a U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, Graham alleged that Haughey and USI MidAtlantic "knowingly and willfully" copied and used two proprietary standard documents without Graham's authorization. USI admitted it generated more than 950 proposals over a 13-year period containing "at least some" of Graham's language from its documents for more than 300 clients. Haughey was ordered to pay Graham $2.3 million. The jury ordered USI MidAtlantic to pay $16.6 million.
Willis Chief Speaks Out
The chairman and chief executive of Willis has called for the United States to adopt a national plan possibly modeled on the U.K.'s anti-terror reinsurance pool to shield the nation against calamities. Speaking in Washington, Joe Plumeri said, "There simply is not enough capacity in the world to endure a worst-case scenario." Added Plumeri, "This is not an insurance issue and it is not a political issue, it is a matter of national economic security." Plumeri is lobbying Capitol Hill for an "optional federal charter." A national approach to disaster insurance was proposed in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Northridge earthquake in 1994, but failed to take root.
Quality Index Launched
Willis Group Holdings Ltd. is launching a new index to give clients more information about insurers' service and support capabilities during the renewal process. The Willis Quality Index, currently being piloted in London, will consider areas including carrier performance, responsiveness, service and ancillary capabilities. The index will include information about how quickly an insurer produces evidence that there is coverage, how long it takes the insurer to issue a policy and how its ability to pay claims compares with its willingness to do so.
August 1, 2006
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