The London Market is a distinct, separate part of the UK insurance sector centred in the City of London. Its core activity is the conduct of internationally traded insurance – mostly non-life (general) insurance and reinsurance, with an increasing emphasis on high-exposure risks.
Reflecting the City’s status as a dominant international financial centre, the London Market’s character is global, with a large number of foreign or foreign-owned underwriting companies.
It is the only market in which all of the world’s 20 largest reinsurance groups are represented.
The number, diversity and expertise of insurers competing in the London Market means that brokers can find the capacity and expertise required for the underwriting of virtually any type of risk.
Lloyd’s of London
Lloyd’s of London is neither a bank, nor an insurance company. It is an insurance market of members, an independent corporation that provides a building and facilities for its members, who actually carry the insurance risks.
Lloyd’s members conduct their insurance business in syndicates, each of which is run by a managing agent. Syndicates – which compete for business – cover either all or a portion of the risk and are staffed by underwriters, the insurance professionals on whose expertise and judgement the market depends. The capital that backs the syndicates comes mainly from corporate sources, with a small proportion of funding from individual members (known as ‘Names’).
Lloyd’s syndicates write a diverse range of policies, both direct insurance and reinsurance, covering a vast category of risks.
Lloyd’s underwriters participate in marine, aviation, motor and non-marine business and exercise considerable commercial influence over shipping, aircraft and energy related insurances, many of which are placed on a global basis. Lloyd’s is also well known for specialist business such as catastrophe reinsurance, kidnap and ransom insurance and fine art insurance, as well as for the type of innovative or unusual policies it has written in the past.
Lloyd’s has insured the smile of Ugly Betty, The All England Lawn Tennis Club against disruption of the Wimbledon tennis tournament; and even the tongue of Costa Coffee’s chief taster!
Lloyd’s even took on the task of insuring a Czech television programme whose title translates to ‘I will do everything’ – the basic premise of which was ‘Don’t try this at home’, insuring contestants about to be immersed in a barrel of snakes or forced to eat creepy crawlies.