For most of us, insurance is a necessary facet of everyday life – as well as forming an important part of the economic world we live in.
The insurance sector is made up of companies that offer risk transfer in the form of insurance policies – meanwhile another party, the insured or the policyholder, pays a premium to the insurer in exchange for protection against an uncertain future occurrence.
The UK insurance market is the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world, and according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), it employs around 314,000 people.
What are the origins of the UK insurance market?
In 1687, Edward Lloyd opened a coffee house on Tower Street, near the London docks. The shop became known as a hotspot for gossip on topics including the plague, the Great Fire of London and the ships sailing in and out, and what they carried.
Gamblers placed bets on whether they would arrive safely or not.
Edward Lloyd began to assemble a network of reporters and informers and create a newsletter full of information about port comings and goings known as “Lloyd’s List”.
If someone wished to insure a ship, insurers in the coffee shop would draw up a contract and sign their name underneath – hence the term “underwriter”.
Destroying more than 13,000 houses, the Great Fire of London in 1666 had catapulted property insurance into the limelight as a matter of urgency. Sir Christopher Wren included a site for “the Insurance Office” when rebuilding London after the disaster.
In the late 19th century, accident insurance was invented. Operating much like life insurance today, the Railway Passengers Assurance Company was formed in 1848 in England to insure against the rising number of fatalities on the railway system.
Lloyd’s of London
80 years after Edward Lloyd established his coffee house, a group of underwriters who hung out there formed the Society of Lloyd’s. Today Lloyd’s of London is a British insurance market where members operate as syndicates to insure and spread out the risks of different businesses, organizations and individuals. The main purpose of Lloyd’s of London is to act as an intermediary between clients, underwriters, brokers and insurance companies.
Lloyd’s is not an insurance company. It is a market where members join together to form syndicates to insure risks. Much of Lloyd’s business works by subscription, where more than one syndicate takes a share of the same risk.
Lloyd’s is part of the London market which is a distinct, separate part of the U.K. insurance and reinsurance industry centred in the City of London. Its main participants are insurance and reinsurance companies, Lloyd’s of London syndicates, Marine Protection and Indemnity Clubs (P&I Clubs) and brokers who handle most of the business.
The UK’s dynamic ecosystem, mature market with deep reserves of capital and expertise equip it to manage complex and challenging risk. It is home to Lloyds, the world’s largest most mature specialty insurance market, operating in over 200 countries worldwide.
London’s specialism and reach make it possible to insure virtually any activity in any location. It the only place where every top 20 insurance and re-insurance firm is active, giving it unmatched global reach.
The UK is the 3rd largest insurance market in the world and the largest in Europe. A talent pool of over 300,000 people work in the UK insurance industry and almost 800 authorised insurance companies operate in the United Kingdom.
Samuel Johnson wrote “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.
London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament; the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city. You can’t fail to be excited by London’s amazing attractions. See London from above on the London Eye; meet a celebrity at Madame Tussauds; examine some of the world’s most precious treasures at the British Museum or come face-to-face with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.
London has the best theatre scene in the world. It attracts the best in acting talent so don’t be surprised to see a few famous faces on the London stage. Take your pick from long-running musicals, classic plays, or brand new works making their West End debuts.
London’s famous skyline continues to evolve. There are plenty of places to view the iconic skyline along the river, but make sure you take in a panoramic view of London from up high at locations such as View from The Shard or the London Eye.