Payments made by Equitas in respect of asbestos claims have remained lower than expected.

A six-month financial report from Equitas, which was set up to reinsure and run off Lloyd's non-life liabilities for 1992 and prior years, also showed asbestos filings against assureds and average amounts paid by some assureds had been less than expected.

Earlier this year, Equitas strengthened gross undiscounted reserves for asbestos claims by £1.7bn.

Equitas chairman Hugh Stevenson said: "Many of the claims filings during the six-month period have been made by people who have not been impaired by exposure to asbestos."

But he added it was possible Equitas may have to increase reserves for further claims at the end of the current financial year.