Gooda names face call for a further pounds 100m

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The Independent Online
GW Run-Off, the agency managing seven Gooda Walker syndicates that have been unable to close their accounts because of mounting losses, has announced a cash call of pounds 100m on their names - the individual investors in Lloyd's of London.

Many of the names are expected to refuse to pay. Their claim for damages from the agents who placed them on the Gooda Walker syndicates is being heard in the High Court.

They are liable for a total pounds 70m by the end of July and pounds 30m in January 1995. GW Run-Off announced in April that during 1993 the losses of the seven syndicates for open years between 1983 and 1991 had deteriorated by pounds 113m, taking the names' cumulative loss to about pounds 1bn.

The biggest chunk of the latest cash call is pounds 31m due in July from 3,100 names on syndicate 290. They are not as badly hit as 388 names on syndicate 387, which specialised in personal stop-loss policies - a form of reinsurance giving limited protection against serious losses at Lloyd's. These face a demand for pounds 8m, an average of just over pounds 20,000 each.

One of the 3,095 Gooda Walker names bringing the civil action said: 'There really is no point in paying up at the moment.' The case is expected to last until at least July, with a judgment unlikely before the autumn. The underwriter Derek Walker is due to give evidence when the case resumes next week.

The widespread expectation of a new settlement offer from Lloyd's to aggrieved names before the autumn is another incentive to delay payment.

So far the Gooda Walker names' payment record has been good. GW Run-Off said previous cash calls had amounted to pounds 700m, of which pounds 600m had been successfully collected. Just under pounds 500m had come from the names and more than pounds 100m from the Lloyd's central fund.

Baptism of fire, page 35

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