Lloyd's losses 'led to 30 deaths': Financial ruin is blamed for suicide and illness of underwriting members. Steve Boggan reports

AT LEAST 12 members of Lloyd's of London, including four foreigners, have killed themselves because of massive losses, according to campaigners mounting a legal fight against the insurance market.

Lloyd's Names Association, which co-ordinates the legal operations of more than 30 underwriters' action groups, said yesterday that fatalities rose to 30 when taking into account members who died prematurely from the pressures of being financially ruined.

Lloyd's last night disputed some reports suggesting that the number of suicides was 30, arguing that public records show only seven, including two abroad.

While saying that it deeply regretted the deaths, Lloyd's added: 'Statements . . . implying that the situation at Lloyd's in recent years had led to 30 people taking their own lives lack any supporting

evidence.'

Concern over the number of suicides has been rekindled by the death of Admiral Sir Richard Fitch, a former Second Sea Lord, who is believed to have lost about pounds 200,000. Sir Richard, 64, was found dead in his Volvo in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex, on Tuesday afternoon. A hosepipe was attached to the car's exhaust.

Christopher Stockwell, chairman of Lloyd's Names Association, said that the pressures on heavy losers were often intolerable.

'Most of the suicides have been by shooting, hanging or carbon- monoxide poisoning using a car exhaust,' he said.

'But we don't know the hidden toll of those who have died early from strokes or heart attacks brought on by the stress of being financially ruined.

''Lloyd's says it tries not to make people bankrupt and it has a hardship fund people can apply to. But that means it takes control of all your financial affairs and there are those who still believe they will be bankrupted - some already have been.

'Of the thousands of people who have been ruined, the elderly in particular see a lifetime of work going down the drain and a future too short to start again. It can be all too much for some people.'

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