Lloyd's syndicate may lose pounds 220m

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The Independent Online
INSURANCE losses of a Lloyd's insurance syndicate once managed by a professional underwriter who committed suicide last month, could rise to pounds 220m, 1,750 stricken underwriting members have been told.

The dramatic forecast of worsening losses came last night to professional underwriting agents who have introduced members to the troubled syndicate, 475, where the affairs were managed by Roy Bromley, who shot himself last month. An inquest concluded that he had committed suicide in the wake of worsening losses.

Mr Bromley took his life when losses were said, by the Knightstone agency looking after the syndicate's affairs, to have climbed from pounds 14m to pounds 54m.

The syndicate has been hit by larger than expected insurance claims from Hurricane Hugo, the pollution damage arising from the Exxon Valdez disaster, and the European windstorm damage of 1990.

Mr Bromley had been dismissed by his own agency company in 1991 because of differences over underwriting policy. The agency was later taken over by Spratt & White, which subsequently became part of the Knightstone Group.

Last night, Trevor Bradley, Knightstone managing director, said: 'As Knightstone has assumed management of this syndicate we will do everything possible to protect the interests of the names (underwriting members).'

While current managers hope that the losses will be less than the upper range of forecasts, they have had to adopt a prudent approach in the event that the members might take legal action.

The members of the syndicate, who include Eddie Kulukundis, the threatrical impresario, and his actress wife, Susan Hampshire, are to be asked to pay pounds 29m from their own resources to meet the underwriting losses.

The latest losses represent the worst reported since the big disasters of last year. This year Lloyd's is expected to report at least pounds 2bn worth of losses for the entire market. In three years, underwriting members will have been exposed to losses totalling pounds 4.5bn.

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