Last month’s $16.5 million settlement in an employee benefits plan case may open the floodgates to suits alleging excessive 401(k) fees, and fiduciary liability suits related to Ponzi schemes are poised to climb as well, experts warned at a recent professional liability conference.

“I think it’s a real game-changing kind of event,” said Rhonda Prussack, executive vice president and product manager for fiduciary liability insurance at Chartis Insurance in New York, referring to the tentative settlement reached in Martin v. Caterpillar on Nov. 5–a case that was pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Speaking at the international conference of the Minneapolis-based Professional Liability Underwriting Society recently, Ms. Prussack explained that this is the first settlement in one of a dozen similar cases brought by a single law firm in St. Louis–Schlichter, Bogard & Denton.

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