EQUITAS FINDS FIGURES LOOK GOOD FOR LLOYD'S

EQUITAS FINDS FIGURES LOOK GOOD FOR LLOYD'S

There was good news in the second reporting period for Equitas, the massive reinsurance project set up to filter off Lloyd's of London's loss-making years, according to figures released by the company Wednesday. Equitas paid out 1.190 billion pounds ($1.934 billion) in claims in the six months between April 1 and Sept. 30, 1997, but recovered UK460 million in reinsurance payments. This compares with UK2.534 billion ($4.118 billion) paid out between Sept. 5, 1996, and March 31, 1997, with UK840 million recovered in reinsurance.

The cash outflow was less than anticipated and the reinsurance recoveries better than expected, said Equitas Chairman David Newbigging. He added that the reinsurance company, which covers all pre-1993 Lloyd's policies has found no ''major surprises.''However, no figures have as yet become available for how the estimated outstanding liabilities have been reduced since Equitas opened for business in September 1996. Equitas is not committed to producing audited results until after March 31, 1998, when it will have had a full financial year of operation. ''The problem with Equitas figures is there's no meat in the sandwich,'' commented Lloyd's analyst, Charles Sturge, who heads Chatset Ltd.

''There's no detail on gross or net outstanding claims, or IBNR (incurred but not reported), or latent liability. Those are the things around which the success or failure of Equitas revolves.''

Just before Christmas, Equitas announced that it was taking on the liabilities of Lioncover, the company which took over the infamous Peter Cameron Webb syndicates, which were fraudulently mismanaged in the 1980s.of the move feel that Lioncover's dramatically high claims for U.S. pollution and asbestosis liability could put an intolerable strain on Equitas.

Equitas' Mr. Newbigging said he felt the company was on track, but warned, ''We must not lose sight of the inherent uncertainties in our business, particularly our long-tail liabilities.''