Lloyd's seeks to restrict meetings

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A MOVE to stamp out allegedly time-wasting and unnecessary meetings within the troubled Lloyd's insurance market was initiated yesterday by the market's authorities.

Hundreds of underwriting members facing pounds 2.8bn worth of losses are seeking to mount votes of no confidence in the management through extraordinary meetings.

Before an extraordinary meeting can be called Lloyd's will require a requisition signed by 1,500 members rather than the present 100.

Claud Gurney, a businessman who has called an extraordinary meeting for 5 July and filed his request before the change in the rules, said: 'This will make no difference. We will keep on fighting.'

Richard Astor, a barrister who is not an underwriting member but is fighting Lloyd's on behalf of his family, who have suffered large losses, also said the rule change would make no difference. He is going ahead with plans for an extraordinary meeting.

'We are not impressed with Lloyd's move,' he said. 'We have to go for the throats of these people until the interests of the members are protected.'

David Rowland, Lloyd's chairman, said yesterday: 'We do not wish to muzzle criticism or concern, but I do not think a series of motions at extraordinary meetings will enhance the society.'

Mr Rowland said yesterday that the investments bankers SG Warburg and JP Morgan had been appointed to help the search for companies that would be interested in investing in the market.