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.

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 Lloyd’s market houses syndicates which offer an unrivalled concentration of specialist underwriting expertise and talent. 

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

  • 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.

  • Brokers - distributing the business

    Lloyd’s is a broker market in which strong relationships, backed by deep expertise, play a crucial part. Brokers facilitate the risk transfer process between policyholders and underwriters. Much of this business involves face to face negotiations between brokers and underwriters.

  • Syndicates – writing the insurance

    A Lloyd’s syndicate is formed by one or more members joining together to provide capital and accept insurance risks. Most syndicates write a range of classes of business but many will have areas of specific expertise. Syndicates are, technically, set up on an annual basis. In practice, they usually operate from year to year with members having the right, but not the obligation, to participate in syndicates the following year. This continuity of capital backing the syndicates means they function like permanent insurance operations. Each syndicate sets its own appetite for risk, develops a business plan, arranges its reinsurance protection and manages its exposures and claims.

  • Coverholders and service companies – offering local access to Lloyd’s

    A managing agent may also authorise third parties to accept insurance risks directly on behalf of its syndicates. These businesses, known as coverholders, form a vital distribution channel, offering a local route to Lloyd’s in many territories around the world.

    A service company operates like a coverholder but is a wholly owned subsidiary of a managing agent or its group. Unlike a coverholder, a service company is able to sub-delegate underwriting authority to other coverholders.

  • Managing agents – managing the syndicates

    A managing agent is a company set up to manage one or more syndicates on behalf of the members. Managing agents have responsibility for employing underwriters, overseeing their underwriting and managing the infrastructure and day-to-day operations.

  • Corporation of Lloyd’s – supporting the market

    The Corporation oversees the Lloyd’s market. It provides the market’s infrastructure, including services to support its efficient running, and protects and maintains its reputation.

  • Policyholders - transferring risk

    Policyholders include businesses, organisations, other insurers and individuals from around the world who seek to mitigate the impact of potential risks. Policyholders may access the Lloyd’s market via a broker, coverholder or service company.

  • Members' agents - supporting the members

    Members’ agents provide advice and administrative services to members, including assisting with syndicate selection.