The Lloyd’s of London insurance market had reduced its exposure “as much as possible” to the euro zone in preparation for a collapse of the bloc’s single currency, its chief executive told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Richard Ward said Lloyd’s had put in place a contingency plan to switch euro underwriting to multi-currency settlement if Greece abandoned the euro, and that it could have to take write-downs on its £58.9 billion (R770.6bn) investment portfolio if the euro zone broke up.

“With all the concerns around the euro zone at the moment, we’ve got to be careful doing business in Europe and there are a lot of question marks over writing business in the future in euros,” Ward told the UK newspaper.

“I don’t think that if Greece exited the euro it would lead to the collapse of the euro zone but what we need to do is prepare for that eventuality.”

Europe accounted for 18 percent of Lloyd’s £23.5bn of gross written premiums, mainly in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, the newspaper said.

Last Wednesday, it was reported that each euro zone country was preparing a contingency plan for the eventuality of a Greek exit. – Reuters