News has reached Backchat from the spacious corridors of Lloyd's that senior figures have been involved in late night shouting matches with American regulators.

While late night negotiations were taking place with the US-based National Association of Insurance Commissioners back in October, things got a little heated.

A 3am call to the commissioners' New York lawyers to discuss whether Lloyd's should capitulate to demands that the market must raise 100% of its liabilities suddenly became incendiary.

It seems a senior executive screamed down the phone: "So you want to bring down Lloyd's do you? Well the money isn't there - what you gonna do about it? Ring [President] Bush? Think he'll want to hear your whingeing while he's fighting a war?"

Fighting talk - and the rest, as they say, is history.