Tennis star faces 2.5m pounds loss in Lloyd's market: More than 150 names expect bills to top 2m pounds

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The Independent Online
MARK COX, Britain's former No 1 tennis player, revealed yesterday that he expects to lose pounds 2.5m from his involvement in the Lloyd's insurance market. He may be only one of 150 people whose losses exceed pounds 2m.

A list produced for the Society of Lloyd's Names ranked Mr Cox at 222nd highest loser last year, but demands for cash this year from one of his syndicates, 387, seem likely to leapfrog him in to the top 100. The biggest loser is expecting a minimum loss of pounds 2.7m to pounds 3m.

'The estimated losses of 387 are terrifying,' Mr Cox said. 'I understand that I can expect to lose pounds 1m for each pounds 10,000 invested. And I have pounds 25,000 in there. I can't even begin to scratch the surface of what I owe but I am assuming that there is still a sense of fair play in Britain and someone will come along and say, hang on, we've got to sort this out.

'There has to be something wrong with an institution that allowed these losses to go on and on,' he said. 'I was put on to my loss-making syndicates by the Lime Street agency; there must have been lots of others put on the same ones.'

Lloyd's Blue Book, a restricted document detailing syndicate membership, shows Mr Cox had a pounds 25,000 line of insurance on Syndicate 387 during 1987, 1988 and 1989, its worst years; pounds 30,000 on Syndicate 290 for 1989 and 1990; and pounds 25,000 on Syndicate 299 for 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was also on three losing Feltrim syndicates.

Syndicates 290 and 299 are recognised as being disastrous, but Syndicate 387, managed by Gooda Walker and underwritten by Derek Walker, is regarded as being the worst. It specialised in providing stop-loss insurance to cover the losses of other members.

'After everyone finished insuring and re-insuring each other, 387 was the last to turn out the lights before re-insuring itself,' said one insider.

There is hope, however, that members of 387 may not be required to meet the demands for payment from Lloyd's. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the running of the syndicate after allegations that it was deliberately set up by insiders, or working members, and stacked with unwitting outsiders who were intended to bear the losses.

It is understood 97 per cent of 387's members were outsiders, the highest proportion of all the syndicates. Despite the big losses, agents kept putting outsidEe members on 387, increasing numbers from 239 in 1983 to 450 inTHER write error 1988.