Charman drops plan to leave Lloyd's

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CHARMAN Underwriting Agencies, one of the biggest agencies at Lloyd's, has climbed down from a threat to pull out of the troubled insurance market.

Charman had said it would withdraw if plans that could curb its substantial fee income were implemented. The agency, which acts for more than 7,000 underwriting members at Lloyd's, claimed yesterday that it had held a series of 'positive meetings' with David Rowland and Peter Middleton, respectively Lloyd's chairman and chief executive.

'Our concerns have been allayed and assurances have been given that the right of successful managing agents to continue to run their own businesses for the benefit of their names (the underwriting members) and other investors will be upheld,' Charman said.

None of the directors was available for comment to describe in detail the reason for the decision, which has led them to support Lloyd's business plans for the future.

Lloyd's was also pleased at the breakthrough. 'We are obviously glad that peace has broken out. Any defection from the market at this moment would be unwelcome,' a spokesman said.

However, the intervention of Charman represents a considerable backlash against the market managers that could weaken their authority and undermine the chance of new capital entering the market.

Lloyd's had attempted to cut costs for the 20,000 members by cutting charges that agencies such as Charman could make against members' profits from 0.75 per cent to 0.4 per cent in two years. Lloyd's plans said that undistributed profits should not be awarded as a staff bonus.