The High Court's decision to allow three British bankers to be extradited to the US will have dire consequences for directors' and officers' cover, a leading solicitor has warned.

The three Natwest executives will be extradited to the US to face allegations that they conspired with former Enron executives to defraud their employer over the sale of a stake held by an Enron entity in 2000.

D&O insurers are closely monitoring developments of the case, said Alexis Roberts, partner at solicitors Pinsent Masons insurance and reinsurance group.

"This is where underwriters were originally exposed to UK risks, and suddenly insurers find themselves opened up to the US liabilities markets," Roberts said.

He added: "Rates could rise to cover the new exposure, and you could find people trying to get additional cover."

Hyperion chief executive David Howden commented: "Enron sends a signal to the international market that it is now working together, and that there is only one

standard now and that is the highest standard."