Despite criticism from some of the lack of new start-ups in the London market, Lloyd's appears to be enjoying keen interest from new entrants.

This week the Bank of America launched casualty syndicate Pembrace, and further start-ups are due to be announced shortly.

Sources say that Lloyd's is sifting through more than 12 new business propositions in 2007, submitted by potential parties keen on accessing the global insurance market.

Naturally, Lloyd's says: "We do not give a running commentary on the admissions process." But, whatever the true number of formal start-up applications, the fact remains that there is a lot of action going on at Lloyd's.

The market has that healthy glow of a new year, with capacity at an all time high, investor appetite also on the up and the prospect of impressive results across the board, especially for property CAT insurers.

"Insurance is very attractive at the moment, why wouldn't people be looking to enter the Lloyd's market?" comments one senior market source.

The Bermuda 'Class of 2005' start-ups have also been touted as potential Lloyd's entrants.

"The Class of 2005 does not seem to making its premium income, so they will no doubt be looking elsewhere in order to make some money," says a Lloyd's source.

If Dan Glaser, managing director of AIG Europe (UK), is to be believed then that place will be London. Speaking recently at Lloyd's he declared: "All insurance roads will lead to London."

Not everyone is so convinced by that comment, after all Lloyd's only attracts 2% of available global business with London reportedly at 15%.

But Glaser is convinced that the rich pool of talent in the London market, its place in a burgeoning financial services centre, and the strides being made towards modernisation and service efficiency will secure its position as the number one insurance market.

He dismisses the 'threat of Bermuda' as anything but that, insisting that competition is healthy as it drives individuals and companies to take challenging decisions.

"In the long run I would say that the best thing to happen to the London market was the emergence of Bermuda. It built up sloppy practices and complacency because it didn't have competition," says Glaser.

It is indeed those sloppy practices and inefficiencies that are driving the market towards change, something that certain senior members of the market insist is imperative for the future security of Lloyd's and London.

"We have to find a way of accessing more business into Lloyd's and find a way of increasing the market's footprint. It is not just about capacity but the quality of business that comes through the door as well," says another senior market figure.

Only time will tell whether the new entrants come into the market from near or distant shores, but the image of insurance is certainly on the up and Lloyd's should be keen to leverage that new found attraction. IT