High Court Defeat Leaves Lloyd's Names Facing Ruin

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker

A retired Birmingham accountant was among 200 'names' who lost a multi-million pound lawsuit against Lloyd's of London yesterday.

Fred Price, aged 70, would have received back hundreds of thousands of pounds, plus interest, he has paid to Lloyd's if the case had been successful.

However, the failure of the suit means Lloyd's is free to pursue him for more than pounds 1 million it claims he still owes.

Mr Price was a member of the United Names Organisation, which had accused Lloyd's of fraud. Last night a spokesman for the UNO to continue the fight.

The group was set up by wealthy individuals who staked their fortunes on the insurance market in the hope of huge returns.

They had claimed Lloyd's bosses kept quiet about a rising tide of huge insurance liabilities caused by asbestos claims which, coming on top of massive UK storm damage and the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster, nearly crippled Lloyd's in the 1980s.

Although the majority of names agreed a deal with Lloyd's in 1996, yesterday's case was brought by 200 who refused to pay their estimated pounds 51 million share of losses on he grounds they were victims of fraud, and therefore not liable.

They claimed that even when they asked about the asbestosis risk, they were reassured that everything was under control. …