Lloyd's name who killed himself had faced heavy losses

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The Independent Online
A member of the Lloyd's of London insurance community took his life because of the uncertainties and potential large losses surrounding his investment in the market, the East Sussex coroner concluded yesterday.

Richard Burgoyne, 53, shot himself in the mouth with a 12- bore shotgun at his home in East Hoathly last month.

An inquest in Eastbourne yesterday was told that Mr Burgoyne had suffered from depression for 20 years and was receiving medical treatment for the condition.

His widow, Sarah Burgoyne, told the court that her husband faced mounting despair.

The East Sussex coroner, David Wadman, said that although he was suffering from depression 'he was a 'name' at Lloyd's caught up in the disaster left by significant liabilities'.

In the last three years Lloyd's and its 20,000 members have suffered pounds 4.5bn worth of losses, much of which has had to be paid out of members own private wealth.

Many members of the market face having to fund the pounds 2bn worth of losses which are flooding on to the 1990 trading account, the results of which will be published this summer by the market.

Mrs Burgoyne said that her husband felt that he had been 'unfairly treated' over the losses he was facing. She told the court that her husband often complained that the estimates of the losses which he might face were 'never accurate'.

She added: 'He was most concerned about what the future might bring.' The problems at Lloyd's, she said, might last for many years.

She said that the family feared that they might have to sell their house and move into something smaller. The couple have two sons aged eight and eleven. 'He was very depressed and unable to trust that the information he was given was accurate.'

Mrs Burgoyne said that in the weeks before his death her husband had seen a top pyschiatrist in London.

She told the court she returned home on Saturday 13 February to find that the chest containing her husband's gun was open and she called the police. Her husband was found dead slumped on a sofa in the house.

Dr Alistair Gilmour, a pathologist, told the court that Mr Burgoyne died from extensive head injuries.

Mr Burgoyne was once a noted professional within the Lloyd's community. He founded the insurance broking company Burgoyne Alford, which specialised in householders' buildings and contents insurance. It pioneered the insurance of contact lenses and also arranged insurance for thatched roofs, timber-framed houses and false teeth.

Mr Burgoyne sold out the broking business in 1984 to a consortium led by John Shipton for pounds 2m and had been living on capital from the sale.

It is the second suicide this year by a Lloyd's market professional. Roy Bromley, 71, an experienced underwriter, shot himself after losses on a Lloyd's syndicate which he once managed climbed from pounds 14m to more than pounds 54m.

Mr Bromley had also worked with a range of insurance companies.