The number of syndicates trading at Lloyd's next year could plummet to 70, according to a senior underwriter.

International property reinsurance underwriter for Newmarket (run-off), John Byrne, said the World Trade Centre tragedy would lead to a consolidation in the market.

This year, Lloyd's had 108 operating syndicates. But rating agencies such as Fitch have predicted the numbers to fall dramatically.

Previously, market analysts have estimated less than a hundred would continue to trade next year.

This is based on the trend of bringing their syndicates into one composite group, plus market fall-out in general.

Earlier this year, HIH Cotesworth's two syndicates ceased trading following its failure to find a new capital provider and more casualties are expected.

"We are going to get a lot of fall-out of syndicates and companies in the London Market," Byrne said.

"All are not going to trade forward. We have already seen three or four companies close down, so what we are going to get is fewer players, but larger ones."

Byrne added: "The market was difficult prior to September 11.

"But for anyone who comes in now it is a fantastic opportunity as rates will be high across all classes of business."