Bright defends Independent Insurance audit cover-up claims

The former chairman of Independent Insurance has angrily refuted claims that
key details of an internal audit were suppressed.

Along with ex-FD Dennis Lomas and former deputy MD Philip Condon, Michael
Bright is accused on counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of fraudulent
trading after the collapse of Independent Insurance in 2001.

At Southwark Crown Court, Bright hit back at claims that the insurer’s
management had ‘suppressed’ major concerns highlighted in its 2000 internal
audit relating to claims in its London Market business.

Prosecution counsel Andrew Ballie QC told the jury that the report had
indicated that only £6.4m reserves were held for £17.7m of claims.

The report was subsequently withheld while amendments were made, but Bright
denied the assertion that the report had been ‘suppressed’ from Watson Wyatt and
actuary Mark Trayhorn.

Earlier this year, the body’s internal audit chief Robin Sibthorpe outlined
the extent of the problems at the defunct company, laying much of the blame
firmly at the feet of ex-financial director Dennis Lomas. Sibthorpe said he had
repeatedly stressed that its 2001 audit should not be postponed.

Bright said: ‘All my efforts in those three years [up to when he left the
company] were about making sure that everything that had previously been hidden
was out in the open.’

The case continues.

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