The Lloyd's market

The Lloyd’s market is home to 56 managing agents and 91 syndicates, which offer an unrivalled concentration of specialist underwriting expertise and talent.

Business at Lloyd’s is still conducted face-to-face, and the bustling Underwriting Room is central to the smooth running of the market. The market structure encourages innovation, speed and better value, making it attractive to policyholders and participants alike. Immediate access to decision-makers means that answers on whether a risk can be placed are made quickly, enabling the broker to provide fast, good-value solutions.

The majority of business written at Lloyd’s is placed through brokers who facilitate the risk-transfer process between clients (policyholders) and underwriters. Clients can discuss their risk needs with a broker, a coverholder or a service company. Specialist underwriters for each syndicate price, underwrite and handle any subsequent claims in relation to the risk.

How the Lloyd's market works:
How the Lloyd's market works


Policyholders request insurance cover. Businesses, organisations, other insurers and individuals from around the world want to protect themselves against risks that could affect them. They approach a broker and explain their individual needs.

Local Brokers

Any insurance broker can access the expertise and resources of Lloyd's by making contact with an accredited Lloyd's broker.

Lloyd's Brokers

Accredited Lloyd's brokers place risks in the Lloyd's market on behalf of clients. These brokers use their specialist knowledge to negotiate competitive terms and conditions for clients. Currently there are over 180 firms of brokers working at Lloyd's, many of whom specialise in particular risk categories.

Each broker is required to demonstrate an understanding of the Lloyd's market, as part of Lloyd's assessment of its suitability to be accredited as a Lloyd's broker. All brokers must satisfy all relevant regulatory requirements. Lloyd's performs a careful assessment of all applicant brokers, affirming their reputation and financial standing and investigating the character and suitability of officers and employees before making the decision to accredit.


Coverholders place the risks. They are companies authorised by a managing agent to enter into contracts of insurance and/or issue insurance documentation, on behalf of the members of a syndicate.

More about Delegated Authority

Service Companies

Service companies place risk and are approved coverholders that Lloyd’s has classified as a ‘service company’ by reason of it being a wholly owned subsidiary of either a managing agent or its holding company.


A Lloyd’s syndicate is made up of one or more members that join together as a group to accept insurance risks. They operate on an ongoing basis, although they are technically annual ventures. Members have the right but not an obligation to participate in syndicates for the following year.

In practice, most syndicates are usually supported by the same capital providers for several years. The stability of the core capital providers mean syndicates function like permanent insurance operations, under the Lloyd’s umbrella.

Syndicates tailor solutions to respond to the specific risks of the client base and compete for business, thus offering choice, flexibility and continuing innovation. Syndicates cover either all or a portion of the risk and are staffed by underwriters, the insurance professionals on whose expertise and judgement the market depends.

Managing Agents

A managing agent is a company set up to manage one or more syndicates, on behalf of the members who provide the capital. The managing agent employs the underwriting staff and handles the day-to-day running of a syndicate’s infrastructure and operations.

Often a single corporate group will manage and fund a syndicate, thereby aligning the management and capital provision. For other syndicates, a number of different members – which can include both private capital and corporate groups – not connected with the managing agent provide the capital (these are known as ‘unaligned’ syndicates).

New syndicates are often established under a ‘turnkey’ model, where an existing managing agent establishes and manages the syndicate on behalf of a third party capital provider. After a period of time, the capital provider may seek regulatory approval to establish their own managing agent.

Members of Lloyd's

Members provide the capital to support the syndicates’ underwriting. Members include some of the world’s major insurance groups and companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, as well as individuals and limited partnerships. Corporate members provide most of the capital for the Lloyd’s market.

The Corporation of Lloyd's

The Corporation of Lloyd’s oversees and supports the market, and promotes Lloyd’s around the world. This includes determining the capital that members must provide to support their proposed underwriting, working with the management of underperforming syndicates to improve performance, undertaking financial and regulatory reporting for the Lloyd’s market, managing and developing Lloyd’s global network of licenses and the Lloyd’s brand.


See Also

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