1855: Cotesworth & Co founded as a Lloyd's managing agency.

1988: Syndicate 536 reports a 24% profit, due to reinsurance purchases under active underwriter Tony Berry, despite £70m of gross claims.

1989: Syndicate 536 posts 25% profits and claims back £174m on reinsurance.

1990: Syndicate 536 records profit increase of 4.5%, claiming £172.6m on reinsurance.

1994: Corporate capital is introduced to Lloyd's for the first time and £1.6bn is injected into the market.

1998: HIH Australia acquires Cotesworth. It gradually becomes the predominant capacity supplier for the syndicates and can make a compulsory offer to purchase the rest of the capacity. Cotesworth reports a loss of 58% and underwriter Berry resigns from syndicate 536.

1999: Cotesworth suffers severe losses – syndicates 535 and 536 report 43.5% losses, syndicate 1069 shows a 30% loss and syndicate 228 records a 21% loss.

2000: Further losses reported – syndicate 535 suffers 21% loss, syndicate 1069 shows 14% loss and syndicate 228 records 30% loss.

2001: Syndicate 535 underwriting energy and marine insurance incorporates former marine syndicate 228. Non-marine syndicate 1688 also merges with syndicate 1069. HIH Australia increases its backing from 71% to 80%.

March 2001: Parent company HIH Australia goes into liquidation and Cotesworth begins the search for new funding.

July 2001: Ratings agency Standard & Poors suspends syndicate 535's performance assessment from five bells (top rank) to “not assigned”.

August 2001: The syndicates suspend underwriting with immediate effect.

September 2001: Syndicates 535 and 1688 are put into run-off, with an annual premium capacity of more than £200m.