Only ten syndicates forecast a loss for their 2002 results which represents a major turnaround from 2001.

Kiln topped the table of Lloyd's syndicates based on forecasts for 2002 results out last week.

With two of its syndicates in the top 10, it was streets ahead of many other managing agencies.

But a huge number of syndicates are forecasting profits for last year.

Of the 89 listed, only the bottom ten expect to make a loss.

Last on the list is Cox's Syndicate 1208, whose mid-point forecast is a loss of 54.2% of its £54m capacity on the 2002 year of account.

By contrast, Kiln's Syndicate 557's mid point forecast is a whopping £33.3% profit on its £47m of capacity for the year in question.

Kiln is the only managing agency to feature twice in the top 10, with its Syndicate 807 forecasting a 17.5% profit for 2002.

But perhaps even more telling is the fact that only two syndicates in the 2002 table also forecast a profit for 2001.

Indeed, Syndicate 557's commendable 2002 performance must be seen against a forecast loss for 2001of between 38.5% and 43.5%.

The top syndicate for forecasting profits for both years are Ascot Underwriting's Syndicate 1414, at fourth place in the 2002 table, which expects profits of between 34% and 39% for 2001 when its capacity had been cut back to £20m.

Kiln's Syndicate 807 is the other star performer across both years, forecasting between 3.5% and 8.5% profit on £45m for 2001 and coming 10th in the 2002 table with its mid point forecast of 17.5% on £63m.

Kiln chief executive Edward Creasy said: "These results are proof positive that, over time, our underwriting decisions are sound and well-judged.

"We pride ourselves on our technical expertise, and this approach allows us to deliver superior underwriting returns to our capital providers."

Markel's Syndicate 3000 expects 22.5% profits on its £260m capacity for 2002, which earns it sixth place in the table.

Markel International finance director Andrew Davies said strong results from professional indemnity business lay behind the good results, along with tough underwriting discipline.

The 2001 year of account stands in stark contrast to 2002, when rates were well and truly booming in most classes following the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Even looking at the best case scenarios, some of the figures are sobering. At the bottom of the table, Capita's Syndicate 1900 and 535 both forecast losses of more than 80% of their capacity.

At worst, Syndicate 535 is forecast to lose 88.7% of its £85m 2001 capacity.

At the top of the table, Cox's nuclear Syndicate 1176, a perennial performer which has now moved over to the Chaucer stable, forecasts a profit of 36.9% and 39.4%, albeit on a very small capacity of £2.8m.

Indeed, Cox has the dubious distinction of being at both the top and bottom of the table. Its Syndicate 1208 is third from lowest, forecasting a loss between 60% and 63% of its £153m capacity for 2001.

Of the larger syndicates, second-placed Ascot Syndicate 1414 stands out as it does in the 2002 table.

Syndicate 1414 had the fortune to start up in November 2001, reaping the rate increases that followed the WTC tragedy, but paying none of the claims.

Ascot chief operating officer John Slipper said: "It was a good time to be writing insurance risks, but 2002 demonstrates the sort of book we were writing."

This is when its specialty, property, energy, inwards insurance and terrorism business produced very strong results for the 2002 account.

Slipper said Ascot spent £70m on reinsurance for 2002 - a tactic that allowed competitors who were prepared to gamble harder to gain an edge. "We just weren't prepared to gamble," he said.

For 2003, Slipper reported rates coming under pressure particularly in the energy sector.

Such pressure was acceptable as long as terms and conditions did not start to weaken.

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