Too late to sue, Merrett names told

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The Independent Online
A THOUSAND Lloyd's names on the Merrett 418 syndicate have lost their right to sue their Lloyd's agents over their losses, estimated at pounds 163m, writes William Gleeson.

The High Court ruled yesterday that the names had left too long between the losses in 1984 and the issuing of writs in 1993. Normally, civil writs must be issued within six years of disputed events.

The names had hoped to show that the facts had been hidden from them until recently, but the judge ruled that their case failed to meet the conditions under which exceptions are allowed.

Syndicate 418 wrote general third-party liability business from other Lloyd's syndicates and other insurers outside the market. The business included asbestos manufacturers, against whom a large number of claims for ill-health have since been made.

The names had hoped to show that syndicate managers had been negligent in accepting these general liability contracts.

Lord Wrenbury, of the Merrett 418 Names Association, said the judgment would be appealed.