Two Halifax insurance brokers clash in court

Andrew Templeton
Andrew Templeton

Two Halifax insurance brokers clashed in the High Court after an employee switched sides and took his customers with him.

Andrew Templeton started work at Romero Insurance Brokers in December 2011 but later resigned claiming he had been constructively dismissed.

He then started working for Eastwood & Partners and both firms have offices at Dean Clough.

London’s High Court heard Mr Templeton took Romero clients with him to Eastwood’s.

Romero then sought redress through the courts claiming Mr Templeton had violated terms in his contract which blocked him from taking orders from Romero’s clients for a year.

Mr Templeton claimed the circumstances around him leaving the company meant the clause could not be enforced.

Maureen Singleton, Head of Corporate and Employment Law at Eatons Solicitors, represented Romero in the dispute.

She said the judgement stated there was no breach of Andrew Templeton’s contract by Romero and hence no constructive dismissal.

“The judgment also confirms Romero’s position that the covenants in Mr Templeton’s contract are indeed enforceable.”

Romero said Eastwood and Partners now faced a six-figure bill for damages and costs.

Romero Managing Director Simon Mabb said: “This has been an expensive lesson for Mr Templeton and Eastwood & Partners, but they left us with no alternative but to bring the claim.

“Eastwood & Partners wanted to purchase our Halifax office business but we were not willing to sell as our clients are important to us.”

Eastwood director John Eastwood said he felt Mr Templeton had been badly treated in his previous employment and Eastwood - which has its financial services operation based at Elland, had always intended having an office in Halifax where it had clients.

“Obviously, I regret that it was not found that Romero was in breach of contract,” said Mr Eastwood.

“However, I am pleased we have been able to negotiate agreement with Romero to resolve matters including our claims for costs against Romero.

“We have a well-founded Halifax office which I know will continue to grow.

“From the outset we were prepared to purchase the Halifax business and so we are where we ultimately wanted to be.

“It is a shame legal costs had to be incurred to achieve this.”

Romero opened its Dean Clough office in February 2011 and Eastwood opened its office in January this year.