Monday 17 June 2019

Two quit top insurer after groping and stalking claim

Allegations: Pedestrians walk past Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance (pictured) in Tokyo. Its UK unit has been hit by sexual harassment claims. Photo: Bloomberg
Allegations: Pedestrians walk past Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance (pictured) in Tokyo. Its UK unit has been hit by sexual harassment claims. Photo: Bloomberg

Gavin Finch

Two executives at a top Lloyd's of London insurance company have resigned following allegations of sexual harassment. One was accused of groping colleagues at a booze-fuelled party, the other of stalking a junior employee.

The first executive was said to have grabbed one colleague's buttocks, unbuttoned another's shirt and made lewd sexual remarks at a party for employees of Tokio Marine Kiln (TMK) Group, a subsidiary of one of Japan's biggest insurers, according to sources.

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The second executive allegedly bombarded a woman who reported to him with unsolicited messages and emails asking her out, the sources said.

The alleged incidents came to light amid the fallout from a 'Bloomberg Businessweek' article about endemic sexual misconduct in the Lloyd's of London insurance market in March.

Following publication, TMK CEO Charles Franks called a meeting where he condemned the widespread behaviour it revealed. That led staff to approach a senior lawyer at the firm, Ifeanyi Okoh, to complain about abuse they said they had endured or witnessed at TMK, including the incident at the off-site party. The lawyer emailed Mr Franks and other senior managers.

"I have been contacted by several TMK employees and ex-employees who recounted some of the most appalling and shocking details of bullying, intimidation, harassment, victimisation, unwanted attention, sexual harassment and racial abuse," Mr Okoh wrote in the email seen by Bloom-berg News. "Sadly, this is part of a long-standing pattern in TMK, one further amplified by systemic intimidation, normalisation of harassment and inhibiting reporting."

TMK spokeswoman Laura Guerin confirmed that an employee had raised concerns and said it was reviewing its policies.

"TMK's priority is to ensure the allegations are investigated thoroughly, independently and confidentially," Ms Guerin said.

"TMK has clear standards and policies for workplace conduct. Any breach will be taken extremely seriously."

The executive accused of groping colleagues received a payout of more than £200,000 (€224,000) after denying culpability and arguing that the company was in part responsible for any drunken behaviour at the party because it had supplied free alcohol for several hours, one of the sources said.

Three other current and former TMK staff, who asked for anonymity, said it was common at work social events to be grabbed or harassed by colleagues who were drunk.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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