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A Connecticut judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Travelers Property Casualty of violating the state’s unfair trade practices act when dealing with claimants who agree to structured settlements. The suit also alleges civil conspiracy, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

The lead plaintiff, Lisa Macomber, is a Travelers policyholder who suffered an automobile accident during the late 1980s in Connecticut and had settled a personal-injury claim with the insurer for $70,000 in cash, plus a structured payout of a $1,000 a year for life with a 30-year guaranty. Her complaint alleges that Travelers routinely spent less on the purchase of annuities than it had agreed to spend in settlements, and that the brokers involved in the annuity transactions, including Travelers Equity Sales and Salomon Smith Barney Holdings, routinely paid up to 50 percent of their commissions to Travelers Property Casualty. These practices allowed Travelers to overstate the actual dollar amounts it used to fund structured settlements, the suit contends.

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