Lloyd’s must not be “complacent” of e-placement success

Lloyd’s and the London Market must not become “complacent” of the success of e-placement witnessed during the Coronavirus lockdown but should instead look to build on momentum, said Kirstin Duffield, CEO of Morning Data.

Speaking with The ReInsurer, Duffield says the time is now for the Lloyd’s and London market to capitalise on the momentum of recent success but warned this will take “a conscious effort” once face-to-face trading recommences.

Commenting on the Corporation’s plans to develop a “virtual” underwriting room, Duffield said the move strikes an “interesting balance” between traditional face-to-face trading and the role of e-placement.

She also questioned whether there will be a need in future for the market to occupy such a large physical footprint in the City now that e-trading has been widely adopted.

“Lloyd’s opening its door this week and simultaneously announcing a virtual underwriting room; that’s an interesting balance. Will we really see the need for such an extensive footprint in EC3,” she added.

Duffield praised the ability of certain companies to react during the lockdown, noting that electronic trading has joined Microsoft Teams and Zoom as technologies which have gone from being an “addition to the armoury” to now being viewed as a “fundamental necessity”.

“PPL, Whitespace, electronic-placement; that’s all fallen into that camp. “It’s become a necessity,” Duffield added. “After all, it’s impossible to get a wet stamp on a piece of paper if you’re tens or even hundreds of miles apart.

“Can we imagine our lives without electronic placement – I hope not. But we must not allow ourselves to settle back in and become complacent. The message has to be that we need to keep the momentum going and that’s going to take a conscious effort once the doors reopen,” she continued.  

One area of concern, Duffield said, is that there must have been insurtech companies which have missed out on funding or M&A possibilities which “fell by the wayside” as a result of the coronavirus.

Instead, the executive advocates the creation of an ecosystem for insurtechs, “a one-stop shop” for firms to find what they need. “I think that’s probably what people can most relate to this year,” Duffield added.

In terms of the role Morning Data will play as part of the London Market’s digital transformation, Duffield would like to see more work done to bring data into the mix to work alongside the PPL and Whitespace platforms.

“The problem is about the data and about understanding that we need to see the same piece of data that is being sent and being received. Until we truly understand what a section is in this market and what we really mean by each of those definitions, we can throw as much technology as you like at it but it will not make a difference,” she said.

“We need to step back and take stock and get that data piece right, then we will be on a really good footing.”