Support for Lloyd's: Members' association backs management

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THE powerful Association of Lloyd's Members, representing about 8,000 underwriting members of the troubled Lloyd's insurance community, has thrown its support behind the market's authorities in an effort to defeat what are in effect votes of no confidence in the management, writes John Moore.

The support will almost certainly guarantee that the no confidence votes brought by angry underwriting members, dismayed at the pounds 6bn losses that have flooded into the market, will be defeated.

At an extraordinary general meeting earlier this month, Claud Gurney, an underwriting member, called on members to support a resolution that said Lloyd's owed a duty of care to its investors and was not exempt from paying damages to any individual who decided to sue. He also called for support for a resolution saying that Lloyd's should allow the members to vote on plans to allow companies to invest in the market for the first time.

Neil Shaw, chairman of the association, has urged them to vote against Mr Gurney's resolutions, arguing that Lloyd's must be able to act without being threatened by those affected. He said the association welcomed the introduction of companies into the market as investors.

Last night Lloyd's said it had invited action groups of members protesting against the losses to submit claims to a newly formed legal advisory panel, which will try to reach out-of- court settlements with underwriting members who are locked in litigation.