Judges Back Insurance Antitrust Settlements

     (CN) – The 3rd Circuit upheld two multimillion-dollar settlements in consolidated class actions accusing some of the nation’s largest insurance brokers of soliciting rigged bids from insurers and receiving kickbacks for steering customers to those companies.

     The multidistrict litigation stemmed from a 2004 lawsuit that former New York Attorney General Eliot filed against broker Marsh & McLennan.
     The suit spurred a multi-state investigation of alleged bid rigging and steering activities in the industry.
     Several class actions were consolidated and transferred to a federal judge in New Jersey.
     Some of the defendants agreed to settle the claims, including one group of insurers, who settled for $121 million, and a group of brokers who settled for $28 million.
     The district court approved both settlements and awarded $29.5 million in attorney fees for the larger settlement.
     Members of the class objected to several aspects of the settlements, including the attorney fee award.
     But the Philadelphia-based appeals court found the lower court’s reasoning sound, saying the class certification requirements had been met, and both settlements were “fair.”
     The 3rd Circuit also upheld the attorney fee award, calling it a “reasonable fee.”

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