Lloyd's rescue plan gains support

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The Independent Online
Support from names for Lloyd's pounds 3.1bn rescue plan is still growing a week before it must be approved at a series of mass meetings.

The London insurance market will today announce the results of a poll showing 82 per cent of its members back the plan, up from 79 per cent in May, before the individual effects of the plan were made clear to 34,000 names world-wide through the issue of so-called indicative finality statements.

Lloyd's also said over the weekend that it had made headway in reaching agreement with US names, who have invoked US state laws in their battle to reduce their commitment to finance past losses in the London insurance market. Lloyd's officials met the American Names Association last week.

A spokesman said yesterday: "Good progress was made and we hope that in the course of the next few days we can resolve matters satisfactorily."

Coming after many of the members' action groups lent their support to the plan last week, the weekend news will buoy the Lloyd's authorities ahead of next Monday's annual and extraordinary meetings, at which the proposals must be given the green light by the market's backers. David Rowland, Lloyd's chairman, commented: "I am greatly encouraged that the majority of members recognise clearly the settlement offer we are making reflects the efforts that all parties have made to build consensus to resolve our problems."

The latest survey, part of a regular series carried out by Market & Opinion Research International, shows that just over a quarter of the 500 members polled still feel unfairly treated by the settlement, despite Lloyd's agreement in May to top up the original proposals by pounds 300m.

Support for the special contribution of pounds 440m to be levied on names writing business in the profitable years of 1993, 1994 and 1995 has also slipped.

On Friday, Lloyd's is expected to end five years of losses by announcing a profit of pounds 1.18bn for the 1993 underwriting year.