The war of words between Top Glory Insurance and certain 'unnamed' rival insurance companies intensified yesterday, with allegations that Top Glory was using underhand tactics to poach salesmen. Top Glory yesterday published full-page advertisements vehemently rejecting the allegations and accusing its rivals of themselves using 'dirty tricks' to ensure staff did not leave. The advertisement was phrased as a public statement to the entire insurance industry from Andrew Yang Fang-shing, the vice-chairman and chief executive of Top Glory. Although it mentioned no company by name, it is widely accepted the row stems from the departure of 120 salesmen from American International Assurance (AIA) to join Top Glory last week. A spokesman for Top Glory said the publication of the advertisements in the middle of its row with AIA was a 'coincidence' and insisted the company had been planning to issue a statement for some time. The AIA agents left for Top Glory following the defection of the company's former senior district director Li Kwok-wah. Mr Yang said in the statement it was a 'basic human right' for anyone to change jobs in a free society, but claimed if a sales agent leaves to join another company it is regarded as 'an unforgivable sin'. He said: 'There are some well-known insurance companies using all sorts of dirty tricks, such as taking ill-founded legal action, deducting commission or pension fund payments to stop agents from leaving. 'In a free society, doctors, lawyers, senior executives and government officials can all change jobs without being regarded as lacking in professional conduct. Why should insurance agents not receive the same treatment?' Mr Yang's comments appear to refer to a letter sent by AIA to departing salesmen which said: 'If you have or attempt to solicit any of our policy holders in any form, thereby adversely affecting our company's business, our company will have no choice but to take legal action against you for the losses and damages suffered by our company as a result.' The departing agents have also been instructed not to communicate with other agents in a bid to get them to terminate contracts with AIA and join another company. The letter also indicated it may hold agents who leave liable for any losses stemming from policy holders switching policies to a rival company. Mr Yang said if clients switched their policies voluntarily, it was the clients' choice and should not be regarded as 'twisting'. Top Glory has sought to lure policyholders with a product that means clients will not lose any bonuses when they switch their policy from another insurance company to Top Glory. Some rivals insurance companies have interpreted this tactic as a way for Top Glory to steal clients. Mr Yang said in the advertisement the product was aimed at protecting policy holders' interests. The recent row is the second time Top Glory has attracted attention for its hiring policy. Both the AIA and the National Mutual yesterday declined to comment.