Claims company + Four is reporting a dramatic rise in the number of questionable computer claims in the run-up to the millennium.

The Manchester-based company, formed a year ago as a subsidiary of Ravelle, is finding fault in half of the 300 claims it processes every month, and is expecting the figure to be as high as 80% in December.

The findings give credit to allegations that policyholders are dumping non-Y2K compliant computers before the millennium date arrives.

"There has been a sharp rise in the number of computer claims which we have queried as the millennium date approaches," said manager Georgina Shaw.

"Insurer's actions vary but I think that in six out of ten times they decide to pay the claim."

+ Four has just won the contract to be the sole supplier for Lloyd's syndicate Equity Red Star, part of the Cox Group, and is in talks with five other major insurers.

Other clients include the Co-Operative Insurance Society and Lark Insurance.

It employs four engineers and specialises in repairs and like-for-like replacements.

"We have a large store of computer models dating back over ten years, which most high street suppliers no longer have stocked," explained Shaw.

"Many of the computers we are dealing with are over ten years old which usually means that they are non-Y2K compliant."

+ Four aims to resolve the bulk of claims within 48 hours.