By Yvette Essen

Cumberland Insurance & Reinsurance Company is seeking to seize assets of Trenwick International over an outstanding claim.

The Lebanon-based company is applying to the UK courts to enforce a judgment stating Trenwick should pay the $700,000 (£466,000) claim, interest and damages. The total is estimated at $1.5m.

In October 1997, Trenwick agreed to cover credit default on consumer and commercial loans in Lebanon. The contract was renewed for a year and in July 1999 the Bermudan-based insurer was accused of failing to pay out on losses from that time onwards.

In April, a Lebanese arbitration panel decided Trenwick should pay $400,187.50, interest of $306,000 and arbitration costs of $17,880. Two weeks ago, the Lebanese Court of Appeal threw out Trenwick's appeal.

It also ordered the insurer to pay damages of $1,300 and fined it $1,300. Trenwick may go to the Cassation Court, a higher Lebanese court, in a final appeal, but must in the meantime pay the award under Lebanese law.

Last week Cumberland's solicitor Chaouki Boustany sent a summons to Trenwick. But Trenwick has failed to pay outstanding money within the seven-day deadline.

Boustany said: "I am now asking the English courts to enforce the Lebanese judgment, which applies under the European Convention. This is not normally done as insurers and reinsurers usually abide by judgments but we will seize property, accounts or belongings."