A federal district court in New Jersey has granted final approval of a $69 million settlement by Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. and other Marsh defendants in In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, 2:04-cv-5184 (D.N.J.), and In re Employee Benefit Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, 2:04-cv-1079 (D.N.J.). The plaintiffs in the parallel multidistrict cases allege that contingent commission arrangements between insurance brokers and insurers violate federal antitrust and RICO laws and that some of the nation’s largest insurance brokers and insurers engaged in bid-rigging to inflate premiums paid by policyholders.

The settlement, which was first proposed last summer, came after defendants in both cases successfully moved to dismiss the antitrust and RICO claims in district court. Plaintiffs appealed those rulings to the Third Circuit, and those appeals are still pending with respect to remaining defendants.

Marsh will pay $69 million into a settlement fund from funds that are held over from a 2005 settlement in which March paid $850 million to settle bid-rigging claims brought by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Of the $69 million, $7 million will be set aside to settle claims by individual policyholders who opt out of the class. To read the court’s opinion approving the settlement, click here.