Errors of judgement blamed in pounds 63m Lloyd's syndicate losses

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MORE THAN pounds 63m of insurance losses that hit nearly 1,000 underwriting members at Lloyd's were the result of errors of judgement and lack of a full appreciation of the market by a professional underwriter, an internal Lloyd's report has concluded.

The report, obtained by the Independent, is the first to be fully prepared under Lloyd's policy, implemented last year, of trying to establish the background to large losses. It will attract further criticism about the market's working practices and standards.

Lloyd's mounted the inquiry in July last year after it became clear that the deficit at an insurance syndicate under the management of Rose Thomson Young, an agency company, far exceeded its financial resources.

The 'loss review committee' that examined the problems at Rose Thomson Young's syndicate was led by Timothy Boatman, a senior partner of Coopers & Lybrand, the accountants. He was joined by Michael Payne, a retired underwriter, and David King, a professional underwriter.

The committee has established that the actions of the professional underwriter Norman Bullen, who accepted risks on behalf of underwriting members on syndicate 255, were a result of 'errors of judgement and the lack of full appreciation of the market'. 'There is no suggestion of any degree of malpractice or thought of personal reward involved,' it said.

Mr Bullen, it said, 'has freely admitted to the committee and to members' agents (the groups that introduce members to syndicates) that, with the benefit of hindsight, he made an error of judgement which has had a severe effect on his names (the members), which include himself and agency personnel'.