Anthony Belisle, the former CEO of retrocessional reinsurance investment manager Markel CATCo Investment Management and Alissa Fredricks, the former CEO of its Bermuda operations, are both claiming wrongful dismissal from the firm.
The owner of Markel CATCo, the insurance and reinsurance firm, Markel Corporation had let the pair go after it engaged outside counsel to conduct an internal review of Markel CATCo, following the previously announced notification of governmental inquiries into loss reserving practices in late 2017 and early 2018.
The company said that during that internal review it had discovered what it termed a violation of a company policy relating to an undisclosed personal relationship between Belisle and Fredricks.
Following the discovery it was announced that the pair had left Markel CATCo immediately and new management oversight was put in place by Markel Corporation.
Federal court filings in Massachusetts and New Hampshire show that both Belisle and Fredricks have filed suits claiming wrongful dismissal. Saying that unlawful actions including irregular searches of their mobile phones and personal communications, plus changes to company employment policies, had resulted in their dismissal from the firm, loss of bonuses valued at $77 million and caused reputational damage as well as emotional distress.
The lawsuits see the pair claiming back such bonus payments and other benefits that they state were due to them and saying that they feel their dismissal was wrongly characterised as related to the inquiries into Markel CATCo’s loss reserves.
Following the recent challenges at faced by Markel CATCo, Markel Corporation wrote down the value of its investment in the collateralized retrocessional reinsurance investment fund manager.
The company also said that it stands behind the remaining Markel CATCo team and reconfirmed its commitment to the collateralized reinsurance and ILS model.
There challenges mean that the potential for investors to look to redeem their allocations from some Markel CATCo funds in the short-term remains, but owner Markel Corporation also recently said that it is planning to adapt the Markel CATCo underwriting and investment strategy based on what it can learn from the catastrophe losses that affected it so severely during 2017 and 2018, suggesting an ambition to continue trading in the unit if it can.
A Markel spokesperson said, “We are aware of the complaints filed by two former employees of Markel CATCo. We believe the claims in these complaints have no merit and intend to vigorously defend against them. We do not have further comment at this time.”