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The Power of Together

Sheila Cameron, CEO, Lloyd's Market Association, on why the reopening of the Underwriting Room is so important in fostering collaboration and community.

I first came to the Lloyd’s Building for a job interview twenty odd years ago.

Sheila Cameron in the newly refurbished Lloyd's Underwriting Room

The meeting invite said only ‘1 Lime Street’ – no other details – so embarrassingly, I spent a good ten minutes walking up and down Lime Street looking for a building with a number one on it. The security guards must have had a chuckle watching me lap the building.

Ten years later, and the Lloyd’s Building – along with its iconic Underwriting Room – feels like a home away from home. It is a genuine privilege to work in this astonishing building, that existed before most of us started our insurance careers and will continue to exist long after we leave.

The Room tells the story of who we are as a market: it’s the physical manifestation of where we have made our connections and relationships across this marketplace.

As Churchill said, we shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.

And that space has facilitated a market that is greater than the sum of its parts. Our market thrives on being a collection of experts; but it’s at its best when that expertise is combined to solve the world’s most complex risks and support society’s progress. The risk solutions we create together have a far greater impact than anything our individual firms could deliver.

The work Lloyd’s is carrying out in the Room right now marks the most extensive refresh undertaken since the building opened in 1986. It allows this generation of the Lloyd’s marketplace to place its own stamp on this historic building, designed by Lord Rogers to adapt and evolve in line with the market’s needs.

Brokers and carriers alike told me they could not wait for the Room to reopen, because the Room is the nerve centre of our marketplace. It is also recognised globally by clients and insurance professionals worldwide as the beating heart of specialty insurance: hence the number of requests I’m sure we all receive to “take a look at the Room” or to “sit at the box”.

That passing through a shared space is what makes our building a market. It’s a roof under which people gather to create synergies: as Lord Rogers himself said, ‘architecture is about public space held by buildings’. It’s why these renovations are so welcome, helping us to collaborate better and serve our customers more effectively.

Coming back to that interview – the good news is, I got the job; and I spent the next five years working in One Lime Street, passing through the Room every day. I was privileged to become CEO of the Lloyd's Market Association in 2019, giving me an excuse to return back to the nucleus of our market in the Lloyd’s Building. We’ve since seen the Lloyd’s team put countless hours of work over the summer to get our Room ready to reopen – and I for one am delighted that it has reopened, the Room is the past, present and future tense of our market.

Find out more about the reopening of the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room, download the room guide and explore the new Ground Floor, G1 and G2 plans.

Sheila Cameron

19 Sep 2023