Insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London, the beginnings of which date back to 1688 in Edward Lloyd’s coffee shop, could be looking at a possible future not too distant from its 17th century past.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Lloyd’s chair Bruce Carnegie-Brown hinted at the idea of a less grand underwriting room ahead of a consultation with market stakeholders in 2021.
“The need for underwriting desks may be less important than just creating the right environment for people to meet and discuss different kinds of insurance risks,” he told the publication.
“In a mixed environment, some people will be in the room having that conversation and some people will be on the wall connected digitally.”
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Citing the changes in the way we work, Carnegie-Brown noted: “To the extent that our physical footprint on the floor might shrink, there will be space in the building, for instance, for them (underwriters) to take on a permanent basis – not to need to have big office environments around [the City], particularly if they’re moving to more flexible ways of working.”
In March the Lloyd’s underwriting room had to close, in line with COVID-19 advice to avoid all non-essential contact. It reopened in September, with a host of health and safety measures put in place to comply with government guidelines.
Now, as the centuries-old exchange charges ahead with its digital transformation, it is likely Lloyd’s “might end up looking more like a coffee shop again,” said Carnegie-Brown.