Lloyd's managing agency Wellington Underwriting has posted pre-tax profits of £3.9m for 2000.

This was down £1.2m on the previous year, but still well above market expectations. Chairman Ian Agnew said the results showed that the market was changing for the better.

“At the start of 2000, the insurance industry was in the depths of one of the worst downturns on record,” he said.

“While our underwriting has remained profitable, these conditions have had an inevitable impact on Wellington's bottom-line performance during the year.

“However, we are able to announce results well above market expectations and there is now compelling evidence that the insurance cycle has turned.”

Wellington's three managed syndicates all closed their 1998 accounts in profit and were merged into syndicate 2020 the following year.

The insurer is now forecasting a profit for 1999 and 2000.

Wellington has also announced it has become the first Lloyd's group to register as a member of Inreon, an online trading platform for standardised reinsurance products.

Inreon was launched by Munich Re, Swiss Re, Internet Capital Group and Accenture in December.