24 April 2023Analysis

Aon Insurance Managers sued after being deceived by hackers

Aon Insurance Managers (Bermuda) has been named in a lawsuit in the US that alleges that the company was deceived into transferring money to 20 unknown third parties who are alleged to be hackers.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia and is formally called: Scott A. Crabtree; A. Joseph Wilkins JR.; Timothy Pohanka; The Pohanka Grandchildren’s IRR Trust; and The Geoffrey P. Pohanka 2004 Family Trust v. Aon Insurance Managers (Bermuda) LTD. and John Does 1-20.

The case is an action to recover dividends owned by the plaintiffs that were entrusted to the control and/or custody of Aon for distribution to plaintiffs located in the US. The filing said that the plaintiffs own shares in two Bermuda corporations: Asset Holding Group (AHG) and Kenwood Holdings.

On three separate occasions between February 2020 and December 2020, the lawsuit alleges, AHG and Kenwood declared dividends, which were entrusted to Aon for distribution to the companies’ shareholders, including the plaintiffs, who reside in Virginia.

The lawsuit said that John Does 1-20 are unknown parties, described in the lawsuit as “the Hackers” who, it is claimed, gained unauthorised entry to a number of email accounts, including the plaintiffs’ accounts, and, posing as the plaintiffs and/or the plaintiffs’ representatives and agents, fraudulently instructed Aon to transfer the plaintiffs’ dividends to accounts controlled by the hackers.

The lawsuit states: “As a result of having control and/or custody of the dividends, Aon owed certain duties to Plaintiffs. Aon, however, failed in its execution of these duties. Notwithstanding numerous red flags and other warning signs, Aon transferred the dividends to unknown third parties in conscious disregard of Plaintiffs’ rights to the dividends.

“Aon’s actions in doing so contravened not only all standards of commercial reasonableness, but its own stated security procedures as well. Moreover, following the transfers, and despite repeated requests from Plaintiffs to do so, Aon has failed to conduct a reasonable investigation tracing the funds into the accounts to which Plaintiffs’ dividends were incorrectly transferred.

“Aon has also refused to share with Plaintiffs documentation related to any such investigation that may have been completed. As a result of Aon’s ongoing breaches of the duties it owed to Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs have incurred at least $2,874,491 in damages, not including additional costs and damages.”

Aon offers a wide range of financial products and services, including captive management, risk financing & captive consulting, commercial re/Insurance management, and insurance-linked securities.

Aon was contacted about this article but told Captive International that it was unable to comment.