It has been a long haul, but over the last year in my interactions with the UK government I can see that it has finally got the message that the London Insurance Market is a force to be reckoned with. As a sector that contributes over 26% of the City’s GDP, we cannot be ignored.
I fully anticipate that the new London Matters report, due to be published in early 2020, will illustrate that we have made some progress in growing our market. But we still have much work to do spreading the message about the London Market to potential investors and prospective clients.
A hard story to tell
Stephen Catlin, CEO of Convex explained, at the recent Onshore Energy Conference held in London, that there is plenty of capital to be had (and he should know having recently raised $1.8 billion) but attracting it to our sector is not easy. Investors do not trust us, and they find our industry opaque.
On the client side, be that original assured or retail broker, I am still amazed about how little people appreciate what a powerhouse London is when compared with other insurance centres, and also how little they know about how to access the talent and expertise that it has to offer.
Back in 2016, the LMG launched the “London Makes it Possible” campaign to help both those who work in London and those who come here to do business understand better what the market has to offer. The iconic pop art depiction of EC3 has been a huge hit ever since, be that with visitors to the market, practitioners or students seeking to understand what we are all about. But we can and need to do more – even in key markets like North America where London is the largest surplus lines market for US risk.
Hearing it from the horse’s mouth
They say that seeing is believing so we are using the wealth of talent and expertise in London to reinforce our strong insurance heritage and educate prospective clients about how to access it. We are drawing on our most valuable assets, our people. We are capitalising on the amazing story telling ability of London Market brokers (claims and placing), underwriters and adjusters, by making a series of short films to bring to life the vibrancy of our market to show that there really is nowhere else like it in the world.
But the challenge is not what we showcase – but how we reach people. Part of our work with government is to make sure we leverage their efforts to promote the UK by highlighting the London insurance market. Through its network of consulates and embassies, they could assist us with promoting our profession, especially if every country – and particularly those with real potential, could have an individual appointed to focus on championing the UK financial services offering. I have also accompanied the Lord Mayor of London to SE Asia to promote financial services.
But it’s a big world and we can’t be everywhere, so we are pursuing a digital strategy rather than one that requires a physical presence at conferences and seminars. This way we can talk to a wider audience, and potentially one that may not have heard our story before. We will be sharing London - spotlighting its strengths through the people who work there and demystifying its processes with a series of online training courses aimed at those that are new to the market.
There has never been a better time to shout about London’s past achievements and bright future. By promoting the whole of the London market as a unique eco system of capital and talent that can be used to support clients, not only with indemnification, but risk mitigation and advisory services, we can all be winners.