Crowe's recent announcement of a major business refocus, which included putting syndicate 808 into run-off and finding a new backer for 1204, has been reflected in Moody's new negative ratings for Crowe syndicate's 963 and 982.

Crowe was bought by Bermuda-based Stockton Re two years ago but Stockton has now withdrawn its support from all Crowe syndictes except 963 and 982.

Life syndicate 982 is predicting a profit for 1998 and 1999 but Moody's said its future was likely to be affected by the performance of motor syndicate 963.

Moody's said: “Despite Stockton Re's stated commitment to the future of the agency, a negative outlook has been assigned to the syndicate performance ratings of syndicates 963 and 982 in view of the impact this might have on potential returns.”