Softening rates across the Lloyd's market will lead to a drop in Lloyd's overall capacity for the 2005 year of account

According to analysts, underwriting capacity will fall between 3% and 5% for 2005, which will lower the capacity by about £500m to around £14.4bn from £14.9bn in 2004. Classes of business softening the fastest are property and casualty, energy and motor.

It is understood that Lloyd's franchise performance board is comfortable with the reduction as it enforces the board's efforts to establish underwriting discipline across the market and discouraging syndicates to write unprofitable business.

Meanwhile, specialty insurance group Talbot has increased the capital supporting Syndicate 1183 at Lloyd's to $260m for the 2005 year of account.

This is an increase of $55m from 2004.

Talbot plans to write gross premium income of £275m in 2005, with over 50% of income coming from the marine classes.