Lloyd's lost about £1.11bn in 1999 and £1.06bn the previous year.

The insurance market's estimated losses follow high levels of catastrophe claims in the US and

Caribbean. Syndicates have also almost doubled their provisions for bad debt, because of concerns about the security of some reinsurers.

Chairman Sax Riley said the current year of account showed “much more positive characteristics that indicate that 1998 and 1999 were the bottom of the loss cycle”.