Lloyd's may abolish members' agencies

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PLANS are being drawn up at Lloyd's of London for the removal of members' agencies from the insurance market. At the same time the market's authorities are considering creating a centralised agency for the management of the affairs of underwriting members who are trapped on syndicates where the insurance liabilities cannot be quantified.

The new moves will be discussed in a business plan that will be presented to the market before the summer by David Rowland, the chairman of Lloyd's.

Within Lloyd's it is felt that the existence of independent members' agencies, which introduce individuals to Lloyd's and the market's syndicates, adds to the cost base of the market. The authorities are keen that members' agencies merge with managing agencies, which run insurance syndicates. Officials feel that such a move would reduce costs.

At present, there are 17 large firms of members' agencies at Lloyd's, some owned by large insurance brokers.

In order to deal with the question of so-called 'open' years at Lloyd's, in which past liabilities cannot be quantified, Lloyd's is considering setting up a central agency to provide a solution for distressed underwriting members facing millions of pounds' worth of losses.

Richard Burgoyne, 54, who founded the insurance broker Burgoyne Alford, which specialised in contact lens insurance and household insurance, died last Saturday. An inquest is to be held.