Every week, as a member of the International Accounting Issues class, we go to various different business sites around the city. The first week we visited the London offices of BNY Mellon. The next week we visited Transport For London, and the week after we visited the Financial Reporting Council. This week we visited Lloyd’s of London. Lloyd’s of London is an insurance marketplace, much like the New York Stock Exchange is a marketplace for stocks. Lloyd’s is not an insurance company, nor does it have clients that are looking for insurance. It is just a platform for insurance companies and brokers to come together. Brokers work on behalf of the clients and try to secure them the best rate possible on their insurance.
Lloyd’s of London is the largest insurance marketplace of its kind in the world. Lloyd’s is a huge operation as it has 4 floors of different insurance companies set up. Overall, just under 100 companies have a presence in Lloyd’s, of all different sizes. Last year, Lloyd’s of London handled just under 40 billions pounds in insurance premiums. It is mind boggling how much business comes through Lloyd’s. Lloyd’s role in the process is as a regulatory agency. What they do is that they regulate who gets to enter. They vet both the brokers and the insurance companies and their employees. Lloyd’s of London needs to make sure that there is no suspicious activity going on, and to maintain the reputation of being the best and most reliable place to get insurance.
When we got there, we had a tour guide bring us to the middle of the floor, as shown in the picture. Then for a half hour, the tour guide explained to us the history of Lloyd’s and how it works. Lloyd’s was started in a coffee house owned by Edward Lloyd which was opened in 1688. In those days, Lloyd’s was a place to get maritime insurance. The bell in the middle, was actually a bell from one of the first major claims that had to be paid out. The bell was from a ship full of gold that sank off the coast of Holland in 1799. Lloyd’s actually brokered the insurance that insured the titanic. Lloyd’s of London has an extremely rich history that dates back a long way.
After the tour guide finished talking, he took us upstairs to see some of the paintings of the old buildings that Lloyd’s was in. He also took us to a beautiful dining room that was actually taken from a mansion elsewhere in England. It was taken apart and then rebuilt for Lloyd’s. The views on the elevator going up were absolutely stunning.
That was the end of our tour. It was really an amazing experience to see such a large operation in action. The history was really fascinating. I think that this was my favorite site visit so far out of the 4 that we have done.