On Friday, May 15, 2015, Attorneys Rick Hayber and Tony Pantuso of the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore won a jury verdict in favor of an insurance underwriter who sued his former employer, Chubb & Son, Inc., for unpaid overtime premium pay. The underwriter had been classified as an exempt, salaried employee and worked more than 40 hours per week without receiving overtime pay. In this important case, the jury found that the underwriter had worked more than 40 hours per week; that the company did not prove that he was an exempt “administrator,” and that the underwriter was entitled to more than $18,000 in unpaid overtime pay. This case was brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act and is the first such win for an insurance underwriter in the country. Graves v. Chubb & Son, Inc., case No. 3:12-cv-00568 (JCH) (filed April 16, 2012). Insurance companies should reexamine their classification of underwriters . ***
Despite their long hours, insurance underwriters in Connecticut often are not paid overtime wages. This is because they’ve been classified as “exempt” by their employer. However, insurance underwriters may not meet the definition of exempt under the law and may be missing out on significantly larger paychecks.
Connecticut Insurance Underwriter Lawyer
The dedicated Connecticut insurance underwriter lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can represent insurance underwriters who are not paid overtime wages. We will fight for what’s owed to you. We have experience representing employees against their employers and former employers, and we can represent you. Fill out our online form today so that we can review the details of your case.
Based in Hartford, we are able to represent insurance underwriters in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Milford and anywhere else in the state of Connecticut.
The Administrative Exemption and Connecticut Insurance Underwriters
Under federal and Connecticut wage and hour law, employees must be paid for the hours they work and be paid overtime of time-and-a-half for any hours per week worked over 40. Some employees, however, are exempt, meaning their employers can pay them on a salary basis and not pay overtime. This is only if the employee’s job duties meet one of a few exemptions.
Many insurance underwriters have been classified as exempt by their employers. Employers usually claim that insurance underwriters fall under the administrative exemption. The administrative exemption only applies if the following conditions are met:
The insurance underwriter earns a salary of at least $475 per week;
The insurance underwriter’s primary duty is office or other non-manual work that directly relates to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers;
The insurance underwriter exercises discretion and independent judgment over matters of significance.
To be considered exempt, employees must meet all three criteria. Using the administrative exemption, many employers wrongly deny insurance underwriters overtime pay.
How Insurance Underwriters May Be Misclassified
Insurance underwriters usually make more than $475 per week. Their primary duty takes place in an office setting, and it’s certainly not manual labor. Their job duties involve complicated assessments that require significant analysis and knowledge, and it can be argued that their work requires discretion and independent judgment.
However, the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes Connecticut, has ruled that loan underwriters do not meet an important criterion for the administrative exemption: that their primary duty pertains to the management or general business operations of their employer or the employer’s customers. A similar argument may be made for insurance underwriters.
In Davis v. Morgan, the Court decided that loan underwriters’ work is on the “production” side of their business, because their work primarily relates to the product of their employer, as opposed to the operational aspects that might be included in a job that qualifies for an administrative exemption.
A similar argument can be made for insurance underwriters. Insurance underwriters review information from applicants for insurance policies to determine risk. The insurance policies are the main “product” of the insurance companies that employ insurance underwriters. Using the logic from Davis, insurance underwriters are on the production side and do not meet the administrative exemption.
Damages for Insurance Underwriters Denied Overtime
Under the law, Connecticut employees that do not meet an exemption are to be paid for the number of hours worked and be paid overtime of time-and-a-half for any time they work over 40 hours per week. If a company has wrongly classified an employee for some amount of time, the employer will owe the insurance underwriter for the overtime it was supposed to pay but did not.
If you have been fired, laid off or otherwise no longer work for the company that had classified you as an exempt employee, it does not mean the employer no longer owes you money. You can still seek back pay wrongly denied from a former employer.
Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore | Hartford Attorney for Insurance Underwriters
If you’re an insurance underwriter who does not make overtime pay or did not at a former job, you may be owed significant back pay. The Hartford insurance underwriter lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can help you get compensated for what you’re owed. Fill out our online form so that our attorneys can review your situation.