Michael Crowe, founder and chairman of Lloyd's insurer Crowe Insurance Group, is to retire at the end of the year.

His retirement follows Stockton Reinsurance's acquisition of the group in 1999. His successor will be announced in due course.

Michael Crowe began his career as a broker with Minet before joining his father at Summit Motor, becoming underwriter of the syndicate in 1974.

He then launched Crowe Motor policies in 1978.

Originally based in Colchester, the syndicate had a first-year premium capacity of around £700,000.

Today the Crowe Insurance Group employs some 500 staff worldwide and manages six Lloyd's syndicates underwriting £300m in premiums this year.

Michael Crowe will remain on the Crowe Motor Syndicate 963's strategic board for 2001.