• Consultation planned for 2021 on future of underwriting room

  • Lloyd’s chairman said remote working has reduced ability to be “innovative and spontaneous”

  • Carnegie-Brown also targets more investment in Lloyd’s Lab initiatives

  • And reveals progress expected in roll-out of Blueprint Two initiatives during 2021

Speaking to The Insurer TV, the Lloyd’s chairman said the market will “always need the physical room” but noted that it will need to evolve as the way business comes into Lloyd’s changes.

Until now, all Lloyd’s business has essentially reached the market via the same route despite having “enormously complex open market business at one end and quite commoditised delegated authority business at the other”.

But Carnegie-Brown said it will be critical that any repurposing of the physical space at Lloyd’s reflects how customers want to access the market.

The Lloyd’s underwriting room is currently closed following the introduction of a third national lockdown in England earlier this month. The room was also shut between 19 March and 1 September 2020.

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Lloyd’s has said it aims to have a consultation with the market as to what it wants from the physical underwriting room in the future. 

“The pandemic has taught us a lot about the potential changes in working habits in terms of the amount of time people want to physically be in the office,” he said.

While he said it would be “foolish” not to try to capture some of the positives to have emerged during the pandemic in terms of home working, Carnegie-Brown said he was confident the future working environment will see the underwriting room reopened as “a centre of insurance for the London market”.

“The issue is making sure it continues to be relevant for the changing needs the market has,” he said.

“One thing many people have commented on with pandemic is how remote working has reduced people’s ability to be innovative and spontaneous.

“There is a yearning to get back to some form of physical interaction and the physical room will play a big part in that. Will it be here in 10 years time? Absolutely.”

Future at Lloyd’s progress

During a wide-ranging interview with The Insurer TV, Carnegie-Brown also highlighted progress in the Future at Lloyd’s agenda following the publication of Blueprint Two in November 2020.

“Blueprint Two effectively lays out the roadmap. It takes some of the components of Blueprint One and turns those into projects we want to execute against,” he said.

“I don’t think there will be a single big reveal. We will effectively release minimum viable products and capabilities that we constantly improve over time with slowly more and more pieces of this will become joined up.”

He said this timeline will include releases in 2021 that will be the “start of this joined-up, seamless integrated process”.

“It is important participants see some tangible improvement in their experience in engaging with the market in 2021 and continuing in 2022,” he said.

Carnegie-Brown said he was also pleased with progress in the market’s innovation hub, Lloyd’s Lab, which has now completed its second year of life, with more than 50 start-ups having gone through the scheme.

“We’ve attracted a huge number of applicants from around the world. The way we set it up to allow start-ups to engage with market participants has made it a very productive time for those startups in the marketplace.”

Equally, he said the market had learned from these start-ups on new product solutions, sources of data and ways of getting business done. However, he added that more investment is needed.

“I’d like to see a bit more investment coming in behind these ideas,” he said. 

“The marketplace needs to see evidence of success of the Lab cycle in order for it to scale further and move faster. I’m excited about what it can be and I think it’s an essential component of Lloyd’s continuing to be innovative in the world of general insurance.”

During the The Insurer TV’s exclusive beginning-of-the-year interview with Lloyd’s chairman, we discuss the 1.1 renewals, Lloyd’s reforms, the urgent need for a public-private pandemic solution, his determination to drive ESG and the future of the underwriting floor. Click the link below to watch the 16 minute interview…