Underwriting Room, Lloyd’s, 24 June 2021
"Your Royal Highness.
It is a great honour to welcome you to Lloyd’s on what is a special day for our market, and for the global insurance and reinsurance industry. Of course, this is not your first visit to Lloyd’s: we have had the privilege of welcoming you on four previous occasions, most recently in 2006 together with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.
Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Gentlemen, as we entered the room you heard the chiming of the Lutine Bell – a bell that is synonymous with Lloyd’s and our maritime beginnings more than 330 years ago. Rung once to mark moments of mourning, and twice to herald moments of ceremony and celebration, over the course of our history it has been rung on numerous occasions to honour visits from The Royal Family.
And whilst the visit of Your Royal Highness today continues that fine tradition, the ringing of the bell today also celebrates the promise of life returning to a better normal as we have begun to overcome the significant challenges that the pandemic has brought for so many.
As a market, we have worked hard to support people, businesses and economies around the world who have felt the full and devastating force of the pandemic. The Lloyd’s market itself is paying out more than six billion pounds to its customers globally to address losses suffered by our customers from the pandemic, and we expect COVID-19 to be the biggest insured loss in our industry’s history, totalling in excess of 100 billion US dollars. Where most of the risks we insure are limited by time and geography, the pandemic has had an impact everywhere in the world and, even today, we have a limited understanding of when it began and it is certainly far from ending.
And while the societal and economic impacts of the pandemic are of a scale that has never before been experienced, it has been a wake up call that a hypothetical systemic risk is never far from becoming a reality and that we must do everything we can to prepare and mitigate against those systemic risks that threaten our shared future.
As many of us gathered here today will know, climate change represents the biggest and most challenging systemic risk of all, which if left unaddressed, will have a dramatic impact on all our lives and livelihoods. The insurance industry is already witnessing the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events and is at the forefront both in building resilience against these disasters, as well as in providing the financial support to accelerate the recovery from disaster.
Although the growing risk brought about by climate change is potentially the largest and most complex challenge the world has faced, it is one which governments, industries, businesses, and communities have the means to address through partnership and accelerated action towards a more sustainable future.
The critical journey to a successful transition to a low carbon economy will require global collaboration on a vast scale. Alongside the commitments that many nations around the world are making to take action to decarbonise, Lloyd’s and the global insurance industry have an important role to play in supporting that transition.
Given our expertise in risk mitigation and management, disaster resilience and recovery, and with more than $6 trillion in assets under management, the global insurance industry is in a unique position to provide innovative products and services to finance, manage and protect against the rapidly changing risk landscape our customers face as they transition to a more sustainable future.
In addition to welcoming Your Royal Highness to Lloyd’s, the ringing of the Lutine Bell twice today also recognises the official launch of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Insurance Task Force. Lloyd’s is honoured to have been invited by Your Royal Highness to convene this task force and, today, Lloyd’s and the insurance task force are making a commitment to be a catalyst and platform for action to accelerate the insurance industry’s transition towards a more sustainable future, through the risks we manage and protect against, and the capital we invest. We are very pleased to support Your Royal Highness in your initiative to galvanise businesses globally to achieve that important goal, through a set of tangible actions we will be delivering throughout the course of this year, and beyond.
Your Royal Highness, it has been our great privilege to have you visit Lloyd’s today. As someone who has, for many decades, championed the imperative of sustainability, we thank you for your leadership through your Sustainable Markets Initiative and Terra Carta, in driving global action to protect the future of our planet.
Sir, I would now like to invite you to share your own aspirations for the importance of your Sustainable Markets Initiative."