Lloyd's Of London's Sticky Wicket

The venerable insurer Lloyd's of London added a higher-than-expected $4.3 billion 1990 annual loss to its long list of woes. (Lloyd's keeps its books open for three years.) Chairman David Rowland described the figure as the "low point in the Society's performance" over the past 305 years. Heavy claims from storms and the cost of legal battles contributed to the hit. Rowland predicted that Lloyd's will see a return to profitability in its 1993 operating year. Meanwhile, Lloyd's is trying to attract its first-ever capital from both corporate and institutional investors, who, unlike Lloyd's beleaguered "names"--individuals who pledge assets to support underwriting--will have limited liability. Rowland says the firm has been "beseiged" with interest. But Lloyd's latest numbers may cool their ardor.

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