The era of Wellington Underwriting is officially over. With Catlin crossing the 't's and dotting the 'i's on its £600m deal, the integration process is well and truly underway.

The Wellington website is closed for business and business cards are heading for the shredder.

On the face of it, the merger of two influential Lloyd's companies appears to be going well, despite a series of departures over recent months, topped last week by the resignation of the head of Wellington's US operation, Stan Kott.

In response to the 10 or so "unplanned departures", Catlin has attempted to stop the rot of negative press by pointing out that this compares to more than 900 employees, who are happily "nesting" in Catlin's new underwriting floor.

While the general agreement in the market is "so far, so good", it is still regarded as early days in the life of what is now Lloyd's largest syndicate.

Catlin admits that the effect of 1 January renewals and the difficulties in retaining Wellington business have not been as bad as it expected and, according to share price figures, the stock market has also chosen not to react hastily to the merger.

While onlookers are biding their time before making a final judgment, Catlin is forging ahead in its aim to be a stock market darling and a global insurer with clout.

There has also been speculation that the merger may spark further M&A activity in the market.

But while there is some doubt that other large Lloyd's firms will snap up rivals in a bid to rebalance the scales, fingers are pointing to the Bermuda entities who, after a successful 2006, have money burning a hole in their pockets.

Whether that happens is also a question of time, but it appears that small syndicates are under pressure and Catlin's move may well have compounded their fate. IT