On the Brink: How a Crisis Transformed Lloyd’s of London by Andrew Duguid

By Andrew Duguid

Huge losses practically destroyed Lloyd's, a respected British establishment, the world's greatest coverage industry. 10000 humans confronted tremendous own money owed they suggestion profoundly unfair. They challenged a complacent establishment, forcing it to confront its largest ever obstacle. This publication tells what particularly occurred, from the inside.

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Example text

Claims payments to clients were said to suffer the same fate. Brokers countered with complaints about delays in authorising payments. If one talked to a group of underwriters on almost any subject, within minutes they would start on the iniquities of the brokers and vice versa. All markets generate attitudes like this until they face a common threat. There was one thing upon which the more extreme among these warring tribes could all agree: a belief that the Corporation was a bloated bureaucracy.

In 1982, a big train was in full view. Scandals showed the difficulty of running the increasingly large and complex Lloyd’s market. Until recently, traders were kept honest by a sense of honour and fear of disapproval in a tight community with shared values. This formula still worked for most. But when greed got the better of a few, the system proved inadequate to control them. To protect its growing membership and the market’s reputation from those who would not play by the rules, Lloyd’s needed a modern constitution, giving full authority to set and enforce standards.

Years later, John Charman, a successful underwriter, recalled his supporters fondly, refusing to deal with some who had been unhelpful in his early days. On the trading floor, the sharpest tribal distinction was between underwriters and brokers. As the source of all business, some underwriters felt the need to cultivate brokers, but to stay on their guard. They were seen as the salesmen, the smooth talkers, making light of difficulties. Many underwriters had started life as brokers. They understood attempts to talk them into taking a risk at too low a price or on too generous terms.

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