Niche intermediary Stella Black was desperately seeking a new insurer for its public and private hire book this week after Crowe Insurance ceased to underwrite the company's £10m account.

Stella Black is thought to be the largest private and public hire intermediary in the market with 10,000 policyholders, generating an estimated £10m in premium income.

Crowe, which had only been acting as underwriter for the past month, withdrew as a market for Stella Black on June 2.

Prior to that, Hastings had been acting as underwriter, and before Hastings, Cornhill was the underwriter.

A spokesman for the company said: "It's absolutely true [that we do not have a risk carrier at the moment], but we will have a new company, or companies in the very near future."

Stella Black was this week believed to be in negotiations with other potential risk carriers, with Highway being touted as a possible replacement insurer.

The Crowe Group issued the following statement: "As part of Crowe Syndicate Management's on-going strategic review process as announced in November 1999, Syndicate 963 has recently undertaken a full assessment of its Public Hire and Private Hire account going forward.

"As a consequence, the syndicate has decided to continue with the account with revised underwriting criteria that will result in the loss or curtailment of some accounts."