Allstate Insurance Co. is suing Ameriprise Financial in a spat alleging Ameriprise is stealing Allstate’s confidential information by recruiting the giant insurance company’s salespeople, known as “exclusive financial specialists.” Ameriprise is allegedly encouraging the Allstate sales agents to create contact lists from customer information, use flash drives and portable electronic devices to download client data, and then solicit Allstate clients once they quit and move to Ameriprise, according to the complaint. Allstate leveled those allegations at Ameriprise in a lawsuit filed August 10 in U.S. district court, northern district of Illinois. The complaint alleges violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, tortious interference with business relationships and unfair competition.
“Ameriprise has engaged, or is engaging, in a national effort to steal [Allstate] confidential information,” according to the complaint.
“Indeed, Ameriprise’s actions have been so blatant and outrageous that Ameriprise has encouraged” Allstate salespeople “to lie” to Allstate “about their theft” of the confidential information, the complaint alleges.
As of August 10, Ameriprise was soliciting Allstate salespeople in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada and New Jersey, the lawsuit alleges, and has also solicited them in Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania.
“Allstate will always take action when its contractual obligations are being violated or its confidential information is threatened,” wrote spokesman Ben Corey in an email. “We stand by the allegations stated in our complaint and look forward to a favorable court resolution of this issue.”
According to Allstate, the exclusive financial specialists are bound by agreements in which they promise to keep customer information confidential and not to sell competing insurance products for a year after the terms of the agreement end. The lawsuit claims that Ameriprise approached Allstate specialists in several states, offering them hundreds of thousands of dollars in signing bonuses to leave the firm.
Ameriprise also asked the specialists to bring their customer lists and other documents along to their new jobs, the suit claims.
The lawsuit accuses Ameriprise of stealing trade secrets, unfair competition and interfering with business relationships. In addition to damages, Allstate is demanding that Ameriprise be barred from using any confidential information and compelled to return any information in its possession.