Lloyd's charges Gooda underwriter

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The Independent Online
DEREK WALKER, senior underwriter at Gooda Walker, is facing disciplinary charges brought by Lloyd's of London, it emerged yesterday in the High Court, writes Diane Coyle.

Mr Justice Phillips rejected a request by Mr Walker's counsel that counsel for the plaintiffs in the Gooda Walker case - the 3,095 names claiming damages from agents who placed them on loss- making syndicates - should not be able to cross-examine him on the grounds that he might incriminate himself in other proceedings.

The Serious Fraud Office halted its investigation into Gooda Walker in February, but a parallel Lloyd's investigation continued. The disciplinary charges are thought to relate to Mr Walker's failure fully to inform his auditors of certain transactions in time and distance policies. Underwriters use these to ensure they can meet their projected cash requirements.

In reply to questions from Geoffrey Vos, for the names, Mr Walker said a fellow Gooda Walker underwriter had delayed revealing the extent of his losses after the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster of July 1988. He said although the management had had concerns by March 1989, his colleague, Stan Andrews, failed to calculate the losses for another six months. He agreed with Mr Vos's suggestion that Mr Andrews had not been frank with the Gooda Walker board.

Mr Walker said: 'He probably totally convinced himself, but it was becoming obvious to me it would be more realistic to put a much higher (loss) figure in.'

He said the failure of Mr Andrews's syndicate to file a return on losses meant Gooda Walker had difficulty renewing professional liability insurance in April 1989.

His evidence continues today.