A senior Lloyd's figure has urged the Council of Lloyd's to reassess the relevance of individual investors in the market after recent figures revealed a considerable decline in the number of private Names.

Hiscox chairman Robert Hiscox told Insurance Times that the drop in investment from Lloyd's Names has put pressure on the 300-year-old market to rely on corporate capital.

He said: "When will the council decide what it thinks the [capital] structure should be and help us all reduce costs by choosing one simple basis of capital supply?"

The number of unlimited liability Names investing in Lloyd's has dropped by nearly 400.

But Lloyd's Members chairman Michael Deeny said the figures did not prove individuals were reluctant to underwrite in the market.

"People are concerned about the risk of unlimited liability," he said. "But the private capacity of unlimited and converted Names is £3bn for 2002, the same as for 2001.

"This is not at all the end of the Names."

In 2001, 2,852 underwrote in the market. This year 2,490 names will take advantage of the increased rates.

The decline follows Insurance Times' article in November 2001 which said the number would drop further by several hundred. At the time, Lloyd's estimates were that 2,618 wanted to invest in Lloyd's, while 17 individuals who had previously resigned from their syndicates, applied to return.

Unlimited liability Names have been in decline since corporate capital was introduced under the reconstruction programme.

In 1994, Lloyd's had 17,400 Names compared to 95 corporate members. Last year it had 2,852 Names and 894 corporate members.