Insurance Times' latest website poll provided some interesting views on the future of Lloyd's.

The second online questionnaire asked browsers: "In the 1980s, there were over 34,000 Names at Lloyd's. In 2002, there are only 2,490. Will the number of Names ever drop to zero?"

Approximately half (45%) said private investors would always have a home in the market, while only 23% considered them a dying breed.

But perhaps more interestingly, a staggering third (32%) of respondents didn't care what would happen to the Names.

The results may provoke a few more chuckles at the expense of the traditional die-hard investor. Since the Reconstruction & Renewal deal of 1996 opened up the market to limited liability, corporate capital has flooded into Lloyd's. According to the Association of Lloyd's Members (ALM), this year private investors now provide £3bn of Lloyd's £12.3bn capacity.

ALM spokesman Robert Miller argues a "tripod" diversification of capital consisting of individuals, UK-quoted companies and international insurance entities are vital as this "makes it less likely everyone will make the same mistake at the same time".

Yet surely the question we should now ask is will Lloyd's' financial backing remain durable?

As Markel Corporation president and chief operating officer Tony Markel said last week: "I have no problem with any form of investment in Lloyd's as long as it is long-term capital."

We do not know for sure what the future monetary base of Lloyd's will be.

But one thing is certain. It is now more important than ever to prove Lloyd's is the hub of the insurance industry.

The attraction of investing in tax haven markets like Bermuda is becoming painfully clear with the start-up of so many overseas reinsurers.

This is not just a struggle to maintain different types of capital investment.

It has become a battle to survive.