Thursday 19 March 2020 12:07 pm

Coronavirus: Lloyd’s of London to close underwriting room from today

Insurance market Lloyd’s of London is to close its underwriting room from 4pm today because of the coronavirus crisis.

Last Friday it closed its underwriting room, which is at the heart of its Lime Street headquarters, to simulate a shutdown and test its contingency systems.

Lloyd’s has been trying to push the market to move online in recent years, but much business is still carried out on a face-to-face basis.

Lloyd’s chief executive Jon Neal said the test of its emergency trading protocols had been successful and “should provide confidence in our collective ability to trade electronically”.

Neal said footfall in the underwriting room was 5,000 on a typical day, but said this fell to 1,000 on Monday, and under 200 yesterday.

Neal said Lloyd’s executive committee had decided to close the underwriting room as most insurers had put in place remote working and in light of government advice to practice social distancing to avoid spreading coronavirus.

“We have taken this decision with a heavy heart and a commitment to review the situation on a weekly basis,” Neal said. “The Lloyd’s building at One Lime Street will remain open for tenants, though this may change in the future.”