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Ascot boosts capacity to £625mn

Lloyd's insurer Ascot Underwriting has confirmed plans to increase capacity on its Syndicate 1414 by 13.5 percent to £625mn for the 2007 underwriting year.

The increase, from current capacity of £550mn, represents the sixth year in a row that AIG-backed Ascot has grown capacity on its Syndicate.

The company's chief executive Martin Reith said that, while the move comes on the back of a good year, with strong trading conditions and no major losses, the insurer is "prepared to see competition intensify and pricing pressures increase in the coming months".

"This increase to our stamp capacity combined with our entrepreneurial approach to underwriting means Ascot will continue to be well positioned to meet the demand from those attracted by our superior expertise and credit rating," he added.

Syndicate 1414's A+ rating was affirmed by rating agency AM Best last week with a stable outlook.

Last month, Ascot confirmed the opening of an office in Singapore to target growth in South-East Asia, as first revealed in The Insurance Insider in August.

The insurer also announced the appointment of the former head of British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Sir Richard Dearlove as its new chairman.

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