Lloyd's motor and aviation arms show profit

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TWO classes of insurance business within the troubled Lloyd's of London community made profits in a trading account that yielded losses for the entire market of more than pounds 2bn.

Lloyd's yesterday confirmed the figures, which had been given to a general meeting of the 22,800 members of the market last month.

Announcing the official results, David Coleridge, Lloyd's chairman, said: 'I believe that we can look forward to much better trading conditions; a leaner, fitter market; and a generation of underwriters chastened by the searing experience of recent years. There is every reason to believe that members who see it through will gain the benefits that they so richly deserve.'

The two markets that made a profit in the strife-torn 1989 underwriting account, the latest for which figures are available, are aviation and motor. The aviation market made a profit of pounds 38.6m, in spite of the account being the second worst on record for the aviation industry, with 28 total losses of jets and more than 1,000 fatalities. That produced an aggregate industry loss in excess of dollars 1.5bn against a premium income of around dollars 500m. Like all insurers, Lloyd's performance in the aviation market was supported by a strong investment return.

Lloyd's motor market, which is still collectively the UK's largest private motor insurer with a 13.5 per cent market share, produced a profit in 1989 of pounds 47.2m.

Results for the following years were affected by a surplus of capacity at a time when repair costs were escalating and theft claims rose by 23 per cent.

Substantial rate rises were applied in the motor market in 1991 and continued into 1992 against a background of heavy trading losses by UK general insurers in 1990 and 1991.

George Johnstone, the chairman of the Lloyd's Motor Underwriters' Association, said there is tangible evidence that the industry is taking concerted remedial action to address such problems as car theft.

The largest losses on the 1989 account, totalling pounds 928m, were in the non-marine or general insurance market at Lloyd's. These stemmed mainly from catastrophes affecting property insurance, combined with responsible reserving for past years in a period of inadequate premium rates, according to Lloyd's.

'Despite this, some sectors in the non-marine market fared better than others, notably accident and health and term assurance,' Lloyd's officials said.