Insurance underwritten at Lloyd’s of London: history and current arrangements: background
Lloyd’s is not an insurance company. It is a society of members, both corporate and individual, who underwrite insurance in syndicates.
The origin of Lloyd’s insurance market lies in the 17th century in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in London. It started with marine insurance and today has grown to become a world-wide leading market for all specialist insurance. Until 1994, all members of Lloyd’s were individuals
In 1994 Lloyd’s admitted corporate members for the first time, and since then limited liability capital has provided a growing proportion of the capacity of the Lloyd’s market. As part of this development, major insurance groups have acquired corporate members in order to underwrite at Lloyd’s.
As it is a market, policyholders are insured ‘at Lloyd’s’ by members of Lloyd’s and not by Lloyd’s itself. However, the market has a common brand and identity, and Lloyd’s Central Fund provides common security underpinning all Lloyd’s policies.
Lloyd’s was incorporated by UK Act of Parliament, Lloyd’s Act 1871, and there have been further Acts since. The most recent of these, Lloyd’s Act 1982, established the Council of Lloyd’s, which is part elected and part nominated, as Lloyd’s governing body.