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Webinar: Lloyd’s will ‘fundamentally change’ after Covid-19

Underwriting Room will not return to business as usual, panellists predict

Lloyd’s will “fundamentally change” as a workplace in the aftermath of Covid-19, with a return to the way in which the underwriting floor previously operated unlikely.

Speaking on an Insurance Day webinar in association with Clifford Chance, Ann Haugh, president of global markets at Axis Re, said she expected several changes to how the market works in the aftermath of the pandemic, particularly in the near term, amid concerns about social distancing.

“I don’t necessarily see [the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room] operating in the way it did before,” Haugh said. “The Underwriting Room may come back in some shape or form but I don’t see a return to business as usual.”

Businesses operating at Lloyd’s will examine costs such as having box space and a desk on the underwriting floor in the aftermath of the crisis, Haugh said.

Investments made to enable Lloyd’s to conduct business digitally have allowed a more seamless transition to electronic trading than many had foreseen would be the case, she said. In addition, business travel is also likely to be reduced significantly as companies look to minimise lost time and productivity.

Richard Dudley, chief executive at the Global Broking Centre at Aon Risk Solutions, agreed the Underwriting Room will continue to exist in some form but this may not be as it is now.

“A lot of face-to-face trading we do is, in my view, not necessary, which is why you see broker facilities, consortia and Lloyd’s focus on lead-follow. Every business is now thinking about how it accelerates the future of work. You can get great benefits from empowering your workforce if you do it right.”

However, Dudley said there was still some room for face-to-face interaction in the Lloyd’s market. “We have a massive talent pool and the tacit knowledge exchange we have in our marketplace though many conversations that are not scheduled in our calendar makes a difference,” he said.

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