Specialty lines business continues to produce booming rates for SVB, with prices up by 37% this year, the company said.

The 2002 incurred loss ratio is 9.8%, the group's best ever. Its previous best was 18.4% reported in 1994.

Its Lloyd's syndicates reported mixed updated forecasts for its 2001 business.

Deteriorating forecasts for Syndicate 1241, which is 82.6% owned by SVB for 2001, slipped downwards to a loss of between 11% and 16% of its £78m capacity from a previous forecast of a loss between 3% and 8%.

SVB owns nearly 83% of the syndicate's capacity for 2001.

Syndicate 1007 also deteriorated, to an expected loss of between 7.5% and 12.5% of £150.9m capacity, from a previous forecast of a loss between 1% and 6%.

SVB owns 45% of the capacity for 2001.

Both instances were as a result of deterioration in the casualty book, in which SVB has withdrawn from US liability reinsurance.

Syndicate 1212 was protected from similar pressure by adverse development cover bought last year.

The outlook improved for the group's two wholly-owned syndicates for 2001, syndicates 575 and 2147.