Canopius admits providing PI cover for Parmalat accountant

Lloyd's managing agent Canopius confirmed this week that it has provided some professional indemnity (PI) cover for the Italian arm of Grant Thornton, the accountant involved in the £7bn Parmalat scandal.

Canopius chief executive Michael Watson confirmed that the insurer had provided cover to Grant Thornton, but declined to reveal the extent of the potential exposure.

It is understood, however, that Canopius insured Grant Thornton's Italian arm for just under £1m.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Zurich had also provided PI cover for Grant Thornton in Italy, though its exposure is not at a primary level.

Parmalat is currently investigating its finances after it was alleged that around £7bn was missing from its accounts.

Lloyd's managing agent Trenwick was rebranded as Canopius at the end of last year.

Canopius Syndicate 4444 will have a 2004 capacity of £250m.

The syndicate will write around £23m of UK PI business in its first year.

The Lloyd's franchise board has expressed concern about the amount of PI capacity flooding into the market and has threatened to stop managing agents underwriting if there are signs of undercutting on PI rates.

Last week, it was revealed that the franchise board was unlikely to authorise SunRise, the proposed professional indemnity (PI) insurer headed by former SVB chief executive Rupert Villers.

SunRise, which was scheduled to begin trading at Lloyd's in April, was targeting gross written income of £125m in its first year.

Sources close to SunRise said the franchise board had been "discouraging" when discussing the insurer's application.