A new Lloyd's syndicate?

A new Lloyd's syndicate?
A US insurer has met with Lloyd's chiefs with a view to setting up a new syndicate at the 300-year-old market. The US company is believed to be based in Chicago, which is home to a number of big insurers including, AIG, Chubb, Allstate and Chicago and Interstate. Officials from the unnamed insurer met Lloyd's officials last week.

2% of GDP is insurance
Two per cent of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) is contributed by the insurance industry, concludes a quarterly research and statistics review by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI research also found that the UK insurance market in 1998 accounted for 7% of total worldwide insurance premium income and had the highest per capita expenditure in the EU.

MMA on the up and up
Insurers MMA posted a 13% rise in pre-tax profits of £8.6m for 1999 compared with £7.5m in 1998. The rise has been attributed to increased sales in travel, private motor and home due to good premium rates. Garry Fearn, chief executive of MMA said its policy of measured rate revisions has seen the market contract in the first half of the year, but rise in the second half.

Rumours start again for RSA
Speculation concerning a possible takeover for insurer Royal & SunAlliance has emerged following a fall in shares below net asset value. RSA was recently linked with German giant insurer Allianz. RSA refused to comment on the speculation and denied any knowledge of corporate activity.

Complete your travel survey
Insurance Times is publishing its annual travel survey in its June Personal Lines Supplement. Questionnaires were sent out recently and if you haven't yet received one please contact Alison Boyle at alison@instimes.co.uk

Chance to be at Oxford
Brokers wanting to write business through the proposed new Lloyd's syndicate, the Oxford Syndicate, will be asked to subscribe to the project next week. The prospectus for the syndicate will go to interested brokers on May 25, with brokers asked to provide a minimum of £2,000 and a letter of credit covering five times its cash injection. The syndicate will then only accept business from subscribing brokers. For a prospectus, call 020 7712 6068.

Saxon asylum home cover aid
Saxon Insurance is at the forefront of moves to help landlords housing asylum seekers obtain buildings cover following a poor reaction from the market. Home Office officials are helping Saxon build contacts among the 14 local government coordinators responsible for caring for asylum seekers. Brian Wright, managing director of Saxon, said: "Local authorities are having to pay the excess premiums being charged to landlords housing asylum seekers. We have been able to supply buildings cover to them at normal DSS rates saving them thousands of pounds."

Criterion to sponsor RORC
Specialist insurance and risk managers Criterion Assurance Group are to sponsor this year's Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) Round Britain and Ireland 75th Anniversary Race, which will start and finish at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The non-stop 1,760-mile race starts on Sunday August 20.

Assureweb offer online quotation
AssureWeb has launched an online quotation system for mortgage protection insurance, a service that is free to brokers. The new service is backed by CGU, RSA, Friends Provident and Norwich Union. As well as providing rate information, the service also lets users review the company's underwriting limits and the benefits of specific contracts.

Competition Act compliance check
Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna has launched a website (www.cmck.com/ competitionrisk/) to help companies comply with the Competition Act. The Act came into force on March 1 and introduces two key prohibitions: abuse of a dominant market position and collusion on terms. The site allows businesses to self-diagnose their compliance levels by answering a series of questions.

Essex business say no to Euro
Essex business leaders are in favour of keeping the pound rather than joining the Euro zone, finds a survey at a recent breakfast business hosted by brokers FMW. The survey found 58% are opposed to scrapping the pound. In addition, more than two thirds said employment disputes are becoming an increasing problem for business owners – 34% said their business had suffered an employment dispute in the last year.

Courtesy cars are hire cars
The provision of courtesy cars is the biggest gripe for bodyshop managers, a survey finds. While the majority of the 60 bodyshops interviewed run their own fleet of courtesy cars, two thirds use a rental car company to top up their needs to meet increased demand or drivers looking for a higher class of car. One in ten were now outsourcing all their courtesy car needs to a rental company.

Putting in a good cause
To help raise money for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, Legal & General and Allied Dunbar have converted their offices into putting greens. Scotch whisky house The Glenlivet created the office putting championships, which started in March, and the final round will be held on June 8 at The Ark, London. Each company that entered into The Glenlivet Office Putting Championships' donated £20. For more details phone the hotline on 020 7731 8794 or visit officeputting.com