Insurer accused over running down of Symphony joint venture

Gibraltar insurer Markerstudy has stopped taking on new business for its Symphony subsidiary following a legal dispute with specialist taxi broker J&M Insurance Services.

Symphony, which underwrites private and public vehicle hire, has not taken on any new business since 1 October, and is now operating only to pay outstanding claims.

J&M is understood to have a 49% stake in Symphony and is said to be unhappy about the decision.

According to sources, Markerstudy demanded cash from J&M to increase capitalisation of the under-performing Symphony vehicle.

It is believed J&M refused to provide the cash, leading Markerstudy to effectively place the vehicle into run-off.

The broker is now thought to be concerned that Markerstudy chief executive Kevin Spencer is seeking to recapitalise the vehicle, thereby squeezing J&M out of the business.

J&M is understood to be seeking legal advice on this issue and over other alleged "improprieties" carried out by the insurer.

Martin Harris, managing director of J&M, said: "There are real issues over the run-off of the account and concerns over the way Markerstudy has acted.

"It is now in the hands of our lawyers."

Markerstudy group operations director Simon Clayton, said: "It is true that we are no longer accepting new business from J&M owing to a dispute over outstanding premiums.

"However, we are still very much involved in the taxi market and continue to underwrite policies through the Markerstudy badge."