Lloyd’s Insurers Facing Loss Crisis

September 7, 2001

Lloyd’s recent announcement of projected 1999 losses in the $2 billion range (see IJ Website, Aug. 30) is beginning to have a more immediate impact on some of its insurance syndicates.

Yesterday Cotesworth & Co., which has been writing insurance at Lloyd’s since 1855, announced that it has been forced into runoff because of its inability to obtain financial backing to write business in the upcoming 2002 underwriting year.

The venerable company, which was the Managing General Agent for several Lloyd’s syndicates, was first hit by the collapse of Australia’s HIH Insurance, one of its financial backers, last March. When Independent Insurance, with whom Cotesworth had concluded extensive reinsurance programs, went into provisional liquidation last June, it could no longer pay claims, and was forced to close.

Another Lloyd’s insurer, SVB, announced that it was considering a management buyout of the company’s publicly traded shares following anticipated losses of £33 million ($48 million), mainly from increases in D & O liability claims arising from the dot.com meltdown in the U.S.

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