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LONDON-International insurance capacity in Lloyd's of London has taken a new step forward with last week's announcement that Tokyo-based insurer Nissan Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd., part of the Dai-Ichi Kango Bank Ltd., has set up the first corporate syndicate backed by Japanese money.

Through its subsidiary Nissan Lloyd's Underwriting Ltd., NFM is providing 10 million pounds ($16.9 million) capacity for 1997 underwriting on a new syndicate 2323. The number 23 translates as "Nissan" in Japanese. In addition, NFM is investing 3.4 million pounds ($5.8 million) in Lloyd's on a spread vehicle basis-across a number of different syndicates-this year. NFM was one of the first Japanese insurers to provide corporate capacity to the Lloyd's market, with a 3.2 million pounds ($5.4 million) investment in 1995.

Yuichito Chikaraishi, managing director of NLUL, said the new corporate syndicate will enable NFM to participate in Lloyd's Japan Inc., a Tokyo-based Lloyd's service company, which will accept business on behalf of Lloyd's underwriters, passing the risk on to the syndicates it is acting for. Lloyd's Japan is due to start business April 1. Last week, Lloyd's Japan received the 20 licenses necessary for it to start writing domestic Japanese insurance business later this year.

Syndicate 2323 has no specific plans for the amount of Lloyd's Japan business it will write, said David White, underwriter for the syndicate who previously has been underwriter for other syndicates. Its primary focus is NFM-related business, he said, where "the syndicate will offer grea-ter flexibility in certain areas." But he refuted the idea that the operation was essentially a "captive" syndicate, saying the business written will spread beyond the NFM client base as the parent becomes more comfortable having a Lloyd's syndicate.

Forming the corporate syndicate is one of NFM's long-term strategic issues, said Mr. White. "Nissan believes that as the (Japanese) market becomes deregulated, it is going to need access to different underwriting skills," Mr. White said.

Other Japanese insurers have recently been expressing an interest in becoming involved in the Lloyd's market, said Mr. White. "There are varying degrees of interest," he added.

Syndicate 2323 will write marine and non-marine business, though its focus will be on international property. It is managed by Murray Lawrence Corporate Ltd., which also provides services to two other corporate syndicates.

In a statement, NFM President Ryataro Sato said, "We believe that the syndicate will greatly help (NFM) to service our international clients throughout the world and we look forward to a close business relationship with Lloyd's for the future."