Market claims Swiss Re's new strategic claims chief is blocking pay-out

Outraged Lloyd's executives blamed its £290m dispute with its reinsurers on one man: Swiss Re's chief claims strategist Rick Murray.

They blame Murray for the decision to stop paying claims on Lloyd's central fund reinsurance policy.

Lloyd's has begun arbitration proceedings against Swiss Re and five other reinsurers over the policy.

Lloyd's finance director Andrew Moss said Lloyd's had been paid £134m in claims so far, but that up to a further £290m was being disputed.

Lloyd's will have spent £78m in premiums on the five-year, £500m policy when it expires at the end of this year.

The policy was placed with units of Swiss Re, GE Employers Re, Hannover Re, St Paul, Chubb and XL Capital.

One senior Lloyd's figure said: "Rick Murray is being blamed. Swiss Re's claims payment since [his appointment] has been terrible.

"It's outrageous for Swiss Re to deny the claims are against the intention of the policy. We had lawyers crawling all over [the policy] for 12 months. It's watertight."

The policy wording is understood to trigger payment when "cash calls are made by insolvent members".

Swiss Re had argued that the Lloyd's claims were submitted "to protect members' solvency and to fund liquidity requirements, particularly in the US. This is not the purpose for which the cover was intended and as such the reinsurers strongly dispute these claims".

Swiss Re responded to the accusations against Murray, who was appointed to his newly-created post in November, in a short statement: "Throughout its history, the Swiss Re Group has been in the business of paying promptly 100% of all valid claims we receive. In 2002, Swiss Re paid SF21bn (£9.7bn) of claims in cash."