Marsh & McLennan, the nation's largest insurance broker, last week agreed to an $850 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for conspiring to rig insurance bids and steer business to preferred insurers in exchange for lucrative kickbacks.

The settlement was the largest brought against an individual firm during Spitzer's tenure as Gotham's chief regulator and looks to be a blueprint for all future cases involving abusive insurance sales practices. Under the terms of the deal, Marsh will not pay a fine or a penalty but, rather, must make annual contributions to a restitution fund over the next four years to be returned to policyholders harmed by the scheme. An initial payment of $255 million is due June 1.

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