SVB is set to pull out of the marine hull market.

An SVB spokesman declined to comment on the proposed move, but sources close to the insurer said it was currently "considering" withdrawing from the sector.

It is understood that marine hull business generates around £1m-£1.5m in premium income for SVB.

The marine hull market as a whole has not made a profit since 1996, and its global losses in 2002 amounted to £468m.

Last year, the Lloyd's franchise board convened a meeting of Lloyd's marine hull underwriters to discuss the poor performance of the marine hull market.

Last month, Insurance Times reported that SVB was considering a bid for rival Lloyd's managing agent Euclidian.

SVB subsidiary Novae Underwriting, which specialises in liability risks, is targeting £100m in premium income for 2005.

Novae began trading in April this year.