Andrew Fisher has become the third Cox Insurance Holdings current or ex-chief executive to be linked to a bid to buy the company.

Fisher, who is the current chief executive, was named in reports in connection with a £280m management buy-out of the group.

Sources close to the company put him in the same consortium as venture capitalists KKR and ex-Cox chief executive Michael Dawson.

The emergence of Fisher has led the company to set up an independent committee led by non-executive director Duncan Clegg to consider the offers. Another ex-chief executive, Neil Utley, is leading a rival bid backed by Englefield Capital, Duke Street Capital and Lloyds TSB's private equity arm

Shares in Cox jumped nearly 5% to 92p on Monday but had fallen back to 90.5p as Insurance Times went to press.

' Rumours that Cox's underwriting arm Equity Red Star could be taken out of Lloyd's and moved offshore to Gibraltar on completion of any deal to buy the insurer were denied by industry sources.