Company says email was hacked, blames firm for not advising it to get computer fraud insurance

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Feb 11, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — A gift distribution company is suing a global insurance broker, citing alleged broker malpractice.

Hampton-Haddon Marketing Corp. (HHMC) filed a complaint on Jan. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Willis of Tennessee Inc. and Willis Towers Watson PLC, alleging the defendants breached their duty to advise plaintiff of reasonable business risks and the availability of insurance to cover such risks, and specifically of cyber crime risks such as the BEC scam.

According to the complaint, in January 2018 a hacker obtained access to HHMC founder Stephen A. Zipf's email account while he was in Germany for an industry trade show. Plaintiff claims to have been a client of the defendant for more than 30 years, during which time plaintiff has relied on defendant to recommended and procure insurance coverage. 

However, despite defendant's knowledge of plaintiff's business risk, defendant allegedly never advised it of the availability of or need for computer fraud coverage. 

As a result, despite its efforts, HHMC reports it has been unable to recover any of the $214,586 that the computer hacker fraudulently caused HHMC to wire from its bank account to the hacker’s bank account. 

The plaintiff holds Willis of Tennessee Inc. and Willis Towers Watson PLC responsible because the defendants allegedly failed to advise plaintiff of its exposure to loss due to computer fraud and -- unilaterally and without notice to or consent of HHMC -- opted HHMC out of computer fraud coverage.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment for compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate. It is represented by Carlos Montoya of Cooper LLC - Counselors at Law in Philadelphia.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 2:19-cv-00407-WB.

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Cooper LLC - Counselors at Law U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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