Lloyds Names dig their heels in

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The Independent Online
NAMES AT Lloyd's of London yesterday launched a barrage of criticism against the market's executives, claiming corporate members were trying to buy them out of the market "on the cheap".

Names at the annual general meeting said managing agents had made alarmist statements about tough conditions in the market. This reduced the value of their holdings, so that corporate members could buy them out.

Lady Rhona Delves-Broughton, a Name, said: "Many Names are here for the long term. We are here to make money and not to be bought out on the cheap."

Members' agents such as Roberts & Hiscox have recently urged Names to leave the market by next year, claiming premiums are so low there is little profit to be made.

But the Names complain that members' agents, who look after the interests of individual Names, are also managing agents for corporate members, which could benefit from a cheap sale.

Michael Deeny, another Name, said: "It is being asked whether a few individuals are trying to panic Names into leaving the market so they can buy their capacity at the bottom of the underwriting cycle. Experienced Names will reject this black propaganda."

The comments followed a speech by Max Taylor, chairman of Lloyd's, in which he reassured Names there were no plans to get rid of the annual venture, the costly means by which Names get exposure to Lloyd's every year.

But he said Lloyd's had to adapt to the future. The trend was to permanent, corporate capital, he said.

Sir David Berriman, chairman of the Association of Lloyd's members, said: "In the past there was no corporate capital and it was the individual members who bailed out Lloyd's of London. We resent the implication we are holding back Lloyd's of London. We are not Luddites."