Increased losses likely at Lloyd's

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The Independent Online
TWO of the most troubled underwriting syndicates in the Lloyd's insurance market are poised to announce increased losses.

Managers of syndicate 745 are expected to warn underwriting members that losses are far worse than the anticipated pounds 132.5m so far announced. A letter will be sent to members by the M J Marchant agency, which looks after the affairs of the syndicate.

Already, the syndicate's managers have been warned by a leading professional insurance broker, Edward Benfield, chairman of Kininmonth Lambert Marine XL, that losses on the 1989 and 1990 underwriting accounts could rise as high as pounds 400m.

Mr Benfield is leading an action group which is attempting to gain some financial restitution for the syndicate's 1,750 members. He has urged Lloyd's to reopen the 1989 account and hold a fresh audit.

Marchant took over the management of 745 from KPH Underwriting Agencies at the end of last year and since then managers have been struggling to get more reliable information about the syndicate's trading position.

David King, fhe former underwriter for the syndicate, was asked by the board of KPH to resign on 14 October last year because of the deteriorating position.

The losses have been caused by larger-than-expected payouts on insurance claims arising from European storm damage in 1990. KPH has already warned that the forecast pounds 132.5m losses expected for the 1990 account could be 'subject to material change'.

At the Spratt & White underwriting agency company managers are attempting to draw up a detailed report on the affairs of syndicate 475 following the suicide of the former underwriter Roy Bromley, found dead from a gunshot wound last month.

Losses have climbed from pounds 14m to pounds 54m and underwriters and brokers expect them to be higher. The syndicate suffered from larger-than-expected losses from Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and early 1990 European storm damage.

Meanwhile, an action group of underwriting members who form syndicate 418, which is fighting for financial restitution in the wake of nearly pounds 200m worth of losses, has replaced its lawyers, Richard Butler, with More Fisher Brown.