Senior London underwriting staff attracted by £9.8bn of new capital

The London Market is facing a shortage of quality underwriters as senior staff flock to Bermuda, according to senior market figures.

Recruitment firm Longbridge's head of insurance practice Stuart White said: "We are yet to see any real war on talent [but] there is definitely a talent shortage in London for well qualified underwriting".

He added: "People want to move there [Bermuda] as they cannot find a decent opening in London."

Since the World Trade Centre tragedy, the tax-free island has become the home for 11 new start-up companies. While Lloyd's has increased its capacity by £1.2bn since 2001, Benfield Group chairman John Coldman estimated the new Bermudan companies had collectively attracted approximately $14bn (£9.8bn) of capital.

White said around 20 high-profile people, including Ace International's former group president and chief executive officer John Charman, who is now chief executive of Axis Specialty, had left the London Market.

"Start-ups are always attractive," he said. "They are an opportunity to be in on the ground floor. It is not a bad thing to have on a curriculum vitae and Bermuda is awash with capital that needs underwriting."

Earlier this month, Mark Boucher, formerly head of Royal & SunAlliance's London-based commercial operations became the latest senior figure to leave the City. He was appointed executive vice president of international operations at Endurance Specialty.

Montpelier Re has also taken on Cox's Richard Chattock and Alleghany's Malcolm Graham-Taylor as facultative underwriters. Mark Weulett, who was a treaty underwriter with Hart Re in London, will join the company as international treaty underwriter next week.