Lloyd's cuts out double counting to save pounds 600m

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The Independent Online
LLOYD'S of London, the troubled insurance market, will announce on Tuesday that its losses have been overstated by pounds 600m because of double counting. But the smaller-than-expected losses will be little comfort to investors who, according to one Lloyd's analyst, still face a cash levy as early as July this year to keep the market solvent

Compared with analysts' forecasts last week of a pounds 2.5bn loss, the improvement implies a total market loss of pounds 1.9bn for the 1991 year of account.

Lloyd's is eliminating what it says is double counting of some market losses. Double counting occurs because many investors, or Names, have insured their syndicate losses by taking out personal stop-loss cover underwritten by other syndicates at Lloyd's. Any loss incurred on Names' syndicates will also be accounted for on the syndicate providing the stop-loss cover. Both syndicate results will be aggregated in the global figure.

Similarly, when Names take legal action against their Lloyd's agents to recover losses, syndicates that have written errors and omissions insurance for the agents will also account for the loss.

Although this has been a problem in past years, Lloyd's has not stripped out the double- counting element from its bottom-line figure before.

The move to do so this year is an attempt to persuade corporate capital investors to increase their involvement in the market. Lloyd's will also be restating the previous year's reported pounds 2.9bn loss to strip out double counting. This will also show a pounds 600m improvement.

Lloyd's will further disclose how much of the double count is attributable to so-called 'errors and omissions reserving'. E&O underwriters were reluctant to do this, fearing it would give litigants an idea of the funds available to settle claims.

Michael Deeny, chairman of the Gooda Walker Action Group, which is suing Lloyd's agents in the Commercial Court, said: 'This information will be of considerable interest to Names involved in legal action against Lloyd's'