Underwriters report huge rises in some classes

Lloyd's operators are achieving booming price rises across many lines of business, with liability classes leading the way.

Brit said its employers' liability and public liability underwriters had doubled prices over the last year, while Wellington reported its highest price rises in energy and aviation.

Chaucer underwriting director Robert Stuchbery picked out marine hull cover as one line likely to see further growth this year, after a period of price competition, particularly from Scandinavia.

He said: "Marine hull is one market where we haven't achieved what we would like to have done in 2002, but we're pretty confident that we can catch up in 2003."

Here are his verdicts on other classes:

  • Marine cargo could rise further and some classes of aviation business, such as cover for small operators and ground handlers, were seeing increases of 10% to 15%.

  • Motor rates have reached a plateau. Stuchbery said: "We would have expected it to be going down by now, but it's keeping pace with claims inflation."

  • Liability: Chaucer is seeing "healthy rate increases" on US liability insurance and reinsurance, mainly as a result of competitors pulling out of the class. It does not write UK liability business.

    Chaucer managing director Ewen Gilmour said: "I wouldn't say conditions were perfect, but it's what we're in business for."

    Amlin chief executive Charles Philipps warned: "The biggest problem facing the market - and that could face Amlin - is complacency.

    "Every day, even in a hard market, you have to worry. Problems can come from where they are least expected."

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