Experts predict up to 16 tropical storms this year.

Lloyd’s is braced for heightened claims as this year’s hurricane season begins.

Experts have predicted between 14 and 16 tropical storms between 1 June and 30 November this year – as many as seven of which could become hurricanes.

Researchers said it was likely that a major hurricane would hit the US, with landfalling activity at least 20% above the long term norm.

Paul Nunn, head of exposure management at Lloyd’s, said: “Notwithstanding the latest forecasts for neutral El Nino conditions, the consensus among forecasters is that it will be a busy year in terms of hurricane activity.”

He added that potential claims resulting from hurricanes were well within expectations. “Lloyd’s syndicates came through the record-breaking 2005 season in good health. Syndicates are well placed to weather the storms.”

Lloyd’s reported recorded profits this year on the back of two benign hurricane seasons.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused global insured losses of over $40bn.