Sturge to close eight syndicates: Five top underwriters made redundant

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The Independent Online
STURGE HOLDINGS, one of the largest underwriting agencies in the Lloyd's insurance market, yesterday shed 21 jobs with the warning of a further 21 to go by the end of the year.

It also announced that eight insurance syndicates under its management would not be trading next year. The syndicates have lost a combined pounds 222m in the 1990 underwriting trading account.

In the jobs shake-out five top underwriters have been made redundant. They are John Nevitt, Alan Lee, Simon Wilmot-Smith, Bruce Adams and Dick Wyatt.

Sturge Holdings is headed by David Coleridge, former chairman of Lloyd's. Since September 170 Sturge employees have lost their jobs. With the announced 42 job losses this year Sturge hopes to have reduced staff to around 1,200.

The troubled insurance syndicates that are to cease trading from next year are numbered 950, 210, 212, 782, 203, 206, 209 and 428.

Terry Hayday, a director of Sturge Holdings, said that the eight insurance syndicates being wound up were 'not sustainable on their track record'. Losses on the eight syndicates ranged from just over pounds 3m to nearly pounds 70m.

Mr Hayday said that the losses had been swelled by claims by other underwriters in the market collecting on their 'stop-loss' insurance policies. Stop-loss insurances are taken out by Lloyd's underwriting members to protect themselves against the consequences of heavy insurance claims.

Mr Hayday said that redundancy terms were being discussed with the underwriters who were leaving, in accordance with their contracts.

As part of an extensive rationalisation plan Sturge is reducing the number of its agencies, which manage syndicates, from five to three.

'The active underwriters on the continuing syndicates represent a strong overall team with a successful track record,' Mr Hayday said. 'They will be merging the best aspects of our current portfolios into their 1994 accounts and retaining the most profitable business of those syndicates that have ceased to trade in their respective markets.'