Underwriting group to vanish after 114 years

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THE Institute of London Underwriters, whose members wrote the insurance policies on the Titanic, is poised to become a casualty itself after 114 years.

The decision to merge with one of the other trade associations is expected be taken by ILU members on June 24. It highlights growing global competition and increases the pressure on the remaining London insurance market to join forces with Lloyd's.

Officials from the ILU and counterparts from the London International Insurance and Reinsurance Market Association (Liirma) argue that a merger between their two bodies would save pounds 2m a year.

They are likely to come together under the new banner of the International Underwriters Association and be based in the London Underwriters Centre where Liirma is located.

The ILU would move out of its own City office block with the name being kept for the time being only for office management functions.

Most of the ILU building is tenanted by some of its 46 members who will remain in place. But around 10 ILU administrative posts are likely to be lost.

Marie-Louise Rossi, chief executive of Liirma, will head the new organisation. The future of the ILU's chief executive, Tony Funnell, remains uncertain.

The ILU is not an underwriter itself but a trade association where 46 companies write marine, aviation and energy risks. It grew up as a company market alongside Lloyd's when the latter was made up entirely of private investors.