London Calling – The Lloyd’s Trip Experience

Fri May 17 2019

London Calling
By John Healy, CIP, Dip F.S Ins, Managing Director Healy Insurances

This wasn’t my first time on the Brokers Ireland trip to Lloyds and it certainly won’t be the last. Aside from the obvious education, knowledge and networking opportunities it provides, the trip is also hugely entertaining.

Past experience has taught me to travel the previous day and arrive fresh to Lloyds for registration and meet and greet. The contingent from Brokers Ireland is always varied and there are always new contacts to meet, together with long standing colleagues. Following brief protocol registration we gather in the old library room for a presentation by Hugh Governey of Lloyds. The room itself is a stunning oak panelled space built in 1928. It is adorned by hand carvings of the 17th and 18th century sailing vessels that compliment the naval heritage of Lloyds with the modern architecture of the Richard Rogers designed building. To veer slightly off point, it’s interesting to note that the Lloyds’ building site engineer was Peter Rice of Dundalk, who is regarded as one of the 20th Century’s most influential structural engineers. He also pushed the engineering boundaries with the Sydney Opera house and the Pompidou centre in Paris.

Recalling my first visit to Lloyd’s I was quietly satisfied to witness young and mature brokers carrying reams of paper around the trading floors. We strive in our own offices to be as paperless as possible but as every Insurance professional understands this is an ongoing challenge. Lloyds has attempted to effect change with more online trading platforms and this is slightly in evidence on the trading floor this year. Hugh takes us on walkabout taking queries and questions as we move throughout the building. The trading floor is a hive of activity this time of morning with brokers lining up at each of the “boxes” to get terms.

I was primed this year to expand my knowledge of syndicates, markets, underwriters and rumour. As an ever moving breathing marketplace there are constant changes of names and people and keeping up with the all the M&A activity in the past few years has been a challenge. The opportunity to further expand my knowledge on this trip has been very welcome. Knowledge is power after all and we can never have enough knowledge or power.

Our very courteous hosts provide our group with a fabulous lunch and there is ample time to network with other brokers. The interaction with our piers is a crucial element to the day and professional relationships are formed or indeed rekindled.

In the past I have explained Lloyd’s to non-insurance friends as Disneyland for Insurance nerds like me. The market has a buzz and excitement that is electrifying and I would encourage every broker, regional or urban, young or not so young to take time out and visit.

Post lunchtime we travel to the top floor of the Gherkin, another famous London landmark with long standing supporters of Brokers Ireland, Robertson Low. Mark Whelan, John Barry and team organise another opportunity to meet with market underwriters and get valuable insights into their day and the typical day of a Lloyd’s broker. The afternoon is very enjoyable as London simmers below us and new skyscrapers seek to climb above us. Next stop is a visit to the offices of Nexus Underwriting on Leadenhall Street and a welcome opportunity to meet up again with Stephen Comerford. Stephen and I worked together in Hibernian Cork many moons ago so it’s great to see him progressing so successfully in the London market.

Our final resting place is food and beverage at the Revolution Bar across the road from Lloyd’s. It’s Thursday of a forthcoming bank holiday so the bar is decently busy on our arrival. The team from Brokers Ireland have everything organised to perfection and all that is left for us to do is chat and share war stories. I’m reminiscing warmly about the tale of the Irish broker who visited Lloyds in the 1980’s and in the elevator asked to be taken to meet “Mr Lloyd” . Then it becomes too late to go home early.
The aftermath the next day is a good afterglow of positivity coupled with plenty good memories.

Thanks to the welcome from the team at Lloyd’s and Brokers Ireland; another successful trip to Lloyds’ is in the memory bank. Laden down with business cards and receipts we discuss how if we had our time again a couple of years in Lloyds would have been such a rewarding experience.
I’ll be there next year because as sure as night follows day, mergers and acquisitions will occur, people will pass, markets will alter, hair will get greyer, politicians will flounder, Lloyd’s will remain an important marketplace for Irish brokers.

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