Barely a week later and the Caribbean islands were lashed by another major storm, Maria, which has so far ripped through Puerto Rico, Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe and the US Virgin Islands.

Commenting on Lloyd’s response, Inga Beale, Lloyd’s CEO, said:

“These are the times when we must respond with speed and urgency, to help get people’s lives back together as quickly as possible. We have been working hard on responding to claims and have already paid out significant amounts to our policyholders.

“Lloyd’s is wholeheartedly committed to making sure we are there when we are needed most. After all, this is what we are built for. We continue to work closely with our brokers, coverholders, and customers to make sure they are receiving the support and the service that the Lloyd’s reputation has been built on.”

One of the many operational challenges facing insurers as they seek to respond to claims arising from major storms is access to damaged areas.

This year, seeking to exploit the benefits of technology, Lloyd’s has deployed a new platform that provides data from satellites and other sources, such as CCTV cameras, to assist with claims handling. The service can provide information on damage caused in an area almost immediately after a storm makes landfall. The intelligence gathered means that claims handlers can start the early stages of processing claims for damaged properties and vehicles faster than before.

Irma has also highlighted the issue of underinsurance – and not just in low income countries. Florida's overall flood insurance rate for hazard-zone homes is just 41 percent, according to the Federal Emergency Management Association.

In areas with low levels of insurance, governments often bear an excessive portion of the cost of natural disasters. Countries with greater international insurance coverage tend to have faster economic recoveries after a disaster.

Through its partnership with international disaster relief charity, RedR, Lloyd’s is supporting the training of international aid workers and local responders in communities hit by recent disasters. Work is ongoing in response to Irma, as well as the devastating floods in South Asia.

Lloyd’s has also donated through the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) towards the Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund, 100% of which will go to towards local non-profits, including the American Red Cross. And Lloyd’s US is also liaising with the IICF regarding the situation in Florida following Irma.