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Underwriters at Lloyd's resign

THE recession-hit Lloyd's of London insurance market is seeing a wave of resignations among professional underwriters. Agency companies, which look after the affairs of underwriting members, are being merged and insurance syndicates are closing down.

AJ Archer, a leading Lloyd's underwriting agency that has its shares quoted on the Stock Exchange, told members yesterday that losses on syndicate 697 had worsened. They could climb to more than pounds 5m for the 1990 underwriting account, the latest completed account at Lloyd's, compared with about pounds 1m in the 1989 acccount.

This would mean that individuals would pay out pounds 3,500 for each pounds 10,000 of insurance business accepted on their behalf.

The syndicate, one of the smaller groups at Lloyd's, had 632 members during the 1990 trading account. It has been hit by losses on errors and omissions in insurance cover protecting businesses from the cost of suits for damages.

Bryan Kellett, chairman of the Archer agency, has notified other agents who have introduced members to the syndicate that the professional underwriter for syndicate 697, Andrew Bathurst, 'accepts that it will not be possible for him to continue as the underwriter'.

Mr Bathurst's role will be taken over by Peter Wright, who will underwrite for syndicate 697 as well as 741.

The move follows the disappointing results at a key syndicate under the management of the Bankside agency and the resignation of the underwriter of syndicate 745, under the management of KPH Underwriting Agencies.

Fears are growing that losses at syndicate 475, under the management of Spratt & White, have worsened. It showed a loss of more than pounds 14m in the last account.