Visiting Lloyd’s of London likely is on the bucket list of each person working in the insurance industry. Wisconsin MBA students in Risk Management and Insurance were given an opportunity to visit and experience the alacrity of the place where 100 M GBP (British pound sterling) premium is written and 49.9 M GBP is paid out each day. The size and scope of business transacted at Lloyd’s is astonishing.
Lloyd’s started in the 17th century as a coffee house owned by Edward Lloyd where investors were invited to participate in the fortunes and perils of ocean-going ventures. As it and the world matured, Lloyd’s gradually showcased its prominence in evaluating and placing large and complex risks. Yet Lloyd’s was so acclimated to underwriting marine risks that its first motor policy in 1904 described the car as a “ship navigating on the land.”
Lloyd’s is currently the largest global center for insurance on commercial and specialty risks, which is evident from being the place that underwrote the first aviation insurance, satellite insurance, and the famous ship “Titanic.” Some of the traditions, such as maintaining the “loss book” using quill and ink, and ringing the Lutine bell (which was salvaged from a sunken ship that carried 1 M GBP in gold intended to be loaned to the city of Hamburg) are continued to today. In fact, our beloved word “underwriter” is believed to have been coined by Lloyd’s; at that time, those seeking insurance would describe the venture, event, or valuables to be covered on a slip under which people assuming the risks signed, resulting in the term underwriters.
Lloyd’s is founded on the notion that relationships are the basis of successful business. Watching brokers seek coverage from underwriters, and observing the traditions and history of the institution, was a unique experience we will cherish.
Thanks to Phil Hoffman, Senior Vice President, Managing Director Aon Commercial Risk Solutions, and Charles Carter, Director Global Broking Center, for helping us visit this architectural marvel infamously known as “the oil rig of Lime Street.”