Anthony Guerriero, a former vice president in charge of claims, filed a lawsuit in Union County Superior Court, New Jersey, claiming he was fired after raising concerns that Chubb destroyed documents related to insurance claims litigation and asked him to keep quiet about it. He alleges that company officials disregarded legal department notices about preserving documentation and tapes, knowing the materials might contain relevant evidence.
These are particularly damaging allegations against a company with a track record for being reasonable when it comes to covering claims.
In the complaint, Guerriero accuses Chubb representatives of recording telephone conversations of brokers, clients, and employees—including himself—that in part involved private matters. What those private matters are is not certain.
The legal department at Chubb sends out emails known as “litigation hold notices” which remind employees to preserve certain documents that are or can be subject to litigation. In November 2013, Guerriero received an email from his IT department which referenced deletion of files from the “Curtis claim.” Guerriero was aware that this claim was the subject of a litigation hold and that information related to the claim should not be deleted. Guerriero was allegedly told by a company lawyer this decision to destroy evidence was made by their legal department and that they would assume the risk that the destruction would not be discovered. Guerriero was later deposed in the Curtis claim and—according to the complaint—advised by Chubb’s lawyers not to volunteer any information, specifically about the tapes.
Chubb has publicly responded to the lawsuit only to say the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
At this moment, a separate complaint has been filed in federal court seeking to compel arbitration in the case. Stay tuned for further information on the outcome. I leave you with a relevant quote by comedian Steven Wright: “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”