Strong rates in US catastrophe-exposed business are encouraging more investment into the Lloyd's market for 2007.

Private capital has been boosted in the first few weeks of the year as investors take advantage of favourable market conditions.

Last week, private investors provided nearly £43m in premium income capacity for MAP Syndicate 6103, which was established specifically to take advantage of exceptionally high rates in the US property catastrophe reinsurance market.

Since Hurricane Katrina, $30bn of replenishment capital has entered the marketplace.

Conservative Party treasurer Lord Marland, City hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, Michael Spencer, head of ICAP, and David Ross, chairman of National Express, are among the influential figures joining the growing list of Lloyd's private investors.

Meanwhile, reinsurance rates in catastrophe-exposed areas have fallen below market expectation despite remaining strong following relatively light hurricane activity in 2006.

However, brokers have warned that clients may choose to buy less reinsurance cover in 2007 if rates increase for US wind-exposed perils.

Charlie Cantlay, deputy chairman of Aon Reinsurance, said: "With a benign hurricane season buyers can see that money has been made in 2006 and with the high costs being paid at the last renewal they are saying, 'we are not paying it again'."

He added that the market would inevitably have to respond with rate reductions, as seen outside catastrophe-exposed areas.