Lloyd's has expressed its commitment to maintaining its variety as an insurance market.
In recent years, the troubles among underwriters and the introduction of corporate funding has led to consolidation among the main agencies.
However, in a policy document – Lloyd's Future Direction – issued by the Council of Lloyd's last week, the market's executive body committed itself to sustaining the diversity.
“The council wishes to maintain a diversity of sources of capital…” the report states. “This diversity offers greater resilience of capital… given the likely difference of perspective and risk preference that will exist between private investors, institutional fund managers, trade investors and venture capitalists.”
The report goes on to emphasise the continuing role of Names in the market. “The council reaffirms that individual Names will be able to trade at Lloyd's as unlimited liability sole traders, underwriting in annual venture syndicates.”
Lawyers in the market are expected to welcome the report. Consolidation at Lloyd's has made competition for lawyers tougher recently, with the range of potential clients decreasing. Insurers have also focused on legal services as an area for cost-cutting.
At the same time, Clifford Chance, Simmons & Simmons and Lovell White Durrant are among big City firms which have targeted the market as a source of litigation work.
“Lloyd's is a tremendously entrepreneurial place,” said Stephen Leonard, a partner at insurance specialist Fishburn Boxer. “The problem is to retain that spirit while introducing checks and balances.”
Peter Rogan, a partner at Ince & Co, said:”It would be a shame if members lost the ability to follow their nose, to underwrite in a creative way.”