Lloyd's year-end results could smash previous forecasts of £500m, with Moody's expecting the market to produce profits of £1bn.

The market had feared being hit by a £400m pay-out to Swiss Re and four other insurers, but the pay-out now stands at £280m.

The £1bn figure is still well below the £1.9bn profit before tax reported last year.

Moody's forecasts that for the 2002 year of account there would be an 11% return on capacity.

The forecast on its 2003 year of account will be stable at 15%.

The ratings agency added that large hurricane losses had impacted the prediction for the 2004 year of account to an anticipated 8% return on capacity.