The Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan is fretting that its most sensitive information — from strategic plans to claims reports — could have fallen into the hands of rival MVP Health Care.
Fearing that its former underwriting director might have taken proprietary business information with him to his new job at MVP in Schenectady, CDPHP is suing him for $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
The Albany insurer is especially worried about troves of proprietary documents that Thomas Ryan allegedly sent to his home e-mail address on July 24 — one day before expressing his desire to resign and nine days after signing a company confidentiality statement.
CDPHP’s lawsuit, recently transferred from state Supreme Court in Saratoga County to U.S. District Court in Albany, states that if Ryan were to use the data at MVP, he “will have destroyed CDPHP’s proprietary advantage with respect to its existing book of business.”
The suit enters federal court just as the Capital Region’s two largest nonprofit health insurers are preparing for their crucial autumn open enrollment period, when they compete for the business of state workers. CDPHP ended last year with over 406,000 members and MVP, which is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has 700,000 members.
CDPHP alleges Ryan e-mailed home the most current claims reports for every CDPHP-covered employer group. Ryan also allegedly sent home presentations to prospective groups that MVP was also competing for, CDPHP’s 2008 strategy presentation, and ratios detailing the insurer’s 2007 success rates by region, product and individual salesperson.
CDPHP worries that in the hands of a competitor, the e-mailed documents could provide a “roadmap for pricing strategies against CDPHP” and a list of potential groups “to go after,” the suit states. Ryan started working at CDPHP in August 2004.
“MVP hired Mr. Ryan based on his excellent qualifications and his extensive prior experience at other health insurers, not because of any specific information he might have about CDPHP,” Gary Hughes, spokesman for MVP, said Tuesday.
“At no time did MVP ask Mr. Ryan for proprietary information from CDPHP and at no time did Mr. Ryan offer to provide any such information. Clearly, CDPHP has a misunderstanding of the facts,” Hughes added.
Ryan’s attorney, Stuart Klein, declined to comment on the case. CDPHP spokeswoman Ellen Boyle also declined comment.
In a statement submitted to the court, Ryan said he sent the CDPHP documents to his personal e-mail address so he could work at home and prepare for a sales meeting presentation July 28. As CDPHP’s underwriting chief, Ryan established premiums for health insurance products.
“I do not dispute that I e-mailed certain documents to my personal e-mail account on the morning of Thursday, July 24. However, I adamantly dispute CDPHP’s unfounded and unsubstantiated assertion that I e-mailed such documents to my personal e-mail account in order to share such information with MVP,” Ryan said in the Sept. 4 statement.
Ryan said in the statement that he started growing “frustrated” with CDPHP in spring 2008, particularly with lack of teamwork in his department, “antiquated underwriting technology,” management concerns and that the insurer’s coverage footprint was limited to New York. In June, he started interviewing at MVP, whose footprint includes New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to court documents.
MVP initially offered Ryan a job July 14, but two days later he rejected the offer, partly over concerns about losing his influential “number one” position at CDPHP and becoming “number two” at the Schenectady insurer.
MVP reportedly made another offer on the evening of July 24, hours after Ryan had e-mailed home the CDPHP documents. His last day at CDPHP was July 28, according to court documents.