Understanding the Corporation
First things first: we’re not an insurance company. Nor are we connected with any bank. Lloyd’s is actually a market where risks that need to be covered are put to insurers who can provide protection, ensuring that social and economic progress can continue across the globe. And as a Corporation, we enable that protection; managing the space and overseeing all aspects of the business.
of the FTSE 250 work with us
paid out in claims in 2018
nearly 1000 employees globally
countries and territories
of our leadership roles are filled by women
In the 17th century, London's importance as a trade centre led to increasing demand for ship and cargo insurance. Edward Lloyd's coffee house became recognised as the place to go for marine information and soon for insurance, too - and it's here that the Lloyd's we know today began. From those beginnings in a coffee shop in 1688, Lloyd’s has been a pioneer in insurance and has grown over 330 years to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance.
1688: First mention of Lloyd's
In February 1688, Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in Tower Street was referred to for the very first time in the London Gazette. Situated close to the River Thames, Lloyd’s Coffee House was popular with ship owners and captains returning from overseas voyages. When Lloyd began renting out ‘boxes’ (tables) in his coffee shop, entrepreneurial businessmen took the opportunity to sell insurance to ship owners in the event their ship did not return. Decades later, it had built a strong reputation for shipping news and had become recognised as the place to obtain marine insurance.
1734: Lloyd’s List appears
Lloyd’s Coffee House published daily shipping news, informing people about departures and arrivals, the cargo aboard each ship, where other country’s fleets were operating and where pirates were known to be active. The first official edition of Lloyd’s List was first published by Thomas Jemson in 1734. As one of the world’s oldest continuously running journals, the paper still provides weekly shipping news to London and the world through an online edition of the List.
1774: Lloyd’s moves to The Royal Exchange
The modern Lloyd’s was born when it moved to The Royal Exchange in 1774 and left the coffee business for good. It was at this time that Lloyd’s Loss Book was introduced to record details of lost ships. Today’s loss book, displayed on a lectern in the centre of the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room, is still updated using quill and ink. When The Royal Exchange burnt to the ground in 1838, Lloyd’s moved to South Sea House temporarily, only to return in 1844 after The Royal Exchange had been rebuilt.
1799: The loss of the Lutine
In 1799, Hamburg’s economy was close to collapse after Emperor Napoleon’s activities had led to a financial crisis. City of London merchants collected £1m in gold and silver bullion to be loaned to Hamburg, and to be delivered by the HMS Lutine. On 9 October, the Lutine encountered a heavy gale on its voyage across the North Sea and ran aground on the Dutch coast. The Captain, crew and treasure were all lost. Lloyd’s underwriters had insured the Lutine’s cargo and the claim was paid in full. In 1859, the Lutine Bell would be salvaged and eventually returned to Lloyd’s, where it now hangs in the Rostrum in the centre of the Underwriting Room.
1877 - 1885: The first non-marine policies insured
It is believed that Cuthbert Heath, one of Lloyd’s most famous underwriters, began to write the market’s first non-marine policies in the late 19th century. Heath wrote Lloyd’s first burglary, hurricane and earthquake policies and would become a key figure in early aviation insurance. It would take decades before the Non-Marine Underwriters Association was formed in 1910. Early risks recorded by them included riots and civil commotion in Mexico and fires in Chicago.
1912: The sinking of the Titanic
On 9 January 1912, broker Willis Faber & Co came to Lloyd’s to insure the "unsinkable" Titanic and her sister ship, the Olympic, on behalf of the White Star Line. The Titanic was the largest-ever marine risk, insured in the Lloyd’s market for £1m - 20% of the total £5m capacity of the market at that time. As it was such a prestigious risk, the policy was subscribed to by all marine underwriters at Lloyd’s and by most London marine insurance companies. When the Titanic collided with an iceberg during her maiden voyage, more than half of the ship’s passengers and crew died. Despite the high levels of claims arising from the tragedy, Lloyd’s insurers paid out in full within 30 days.
1914: The Great War
In 1916, even before compulsory service was introduced, 2,485 men from Lloyd’s had undertaken military service in the First World War. Those who remained at work had to pull together to keep the market operating as efficiently as ever. But Lloyd’s contribution to the war came not just from its workforce; donations were also made to Red Cross Societies and other efforts including the Committee of Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund to help relatives of soldiers and sailors. After the Armistice, some men from Lloyd’s returned to work, but many did not. The Lloyd’s War Memorial monument pays tribute to their bravery.
1973: The first female broker
Liliana Archibald became the first female Lloyd’s broker in 1973. After her first day in The Room at Lloyd’s, she passed the building on her way home and observed, “The roof was still on.” Today, Lloyd’s is a committed champion of diversity and is leading the field in encouraging open, inclusive cultures across the insurance industry. Lloyd’s hosted the first market-wide Diversity and Inclusion Festival in London in 2015, taking the festival across its global network of offices the following year.
1988: Lloyd's Tercentenary Research Foundation
Lloyd’s Tercentenary Research Foundation was established to mark 300 years of Lloyd’s in 1988. Since its foundation, LTRF has funded over £3m and more than 100 years of academic research in the fields of engineering, science, medicine, business and the environment. Today, through its partnerships with specifically commissioned academic institutions and research organisations, it funds new programmes of research on risk-related issues.
1999: Lloyd's Asia opens its doors
Since opening in Singapore in 1999, Lloyd’s Asia has grown to the largest of Lloyd’s regional insurance platforms. Home to more than 200 expert underwriters, Lloyd’s Asia is the leading hub for specialist insurance and reinsurance across the entire Asia Pacific region. In 2010, Lloyd’s Insurance Company (China) Ltd. was established in Shanghai, and in 2015, Lloyd’s Dubai became the first Lloyd’s underwriting hub in the Middle East. This global presence is part of Lloyd’s commitment to develop the insurance industry in new and emerging markets, introducing its specialised expertise to protect communities and promote growth around the world.
2001: September 11, 2001
The events of 9/11 changed the world’s perception of risk forever. It was also Lloyd’s largest-ever single loss, impacting many different classes of business demonstrating the need for contract certainty in the industry. It became clear that a dispute over whether the destruction of the Twin Towers had been one or two separate terrorism events would not have occurred had final policies been in place ahead of the attacks. The Lloyd’s and wider London market tackled the culture of ‘deal now, detail later’ head on in the years after 9/11 and reached an important milestone in January 2007 when it was reported that 90% of contracts in the subscription market and 88% of contracts in the non-subscription market had achieved certainty.
2015: The cost of progress
In 2015, the Lloyd’s City Risk Index found nearly half the economic risks faced by 301 cities around the world were linked to human-made threats. Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale warned that human-made risks such as terrorism, cyber attacks, market crashes, nuclear accidents and climate change had now become bigger threats than natural disasters. Insurance has always played a role in de-risking society and promoting positive growth. And while insurance and reinsurance cannot eliminate risk, Lloyd’s unique market anticipates, responds to and spreads risk in order to protect businesses and communities throughout our rapidly changing world.