The new chief executive of Lloyd’s of London apologised for the insurance markets’ “unacceptable” performance and unveiled a plan to get it back on track in his first public speech today.
John Neal, who joined Lloyd’s four months ago from insurer QBE, took the job against a backdrop of poor results at Lloyd’s which suffered a £2bn loss in 2017.
"This is not where we want to be,” Neal said, “Our place is at the front of the flotilla setting a course for others to follow, not sailing in the wake of our peers, trying to catch up.”
“For an organisation of Lloyd’s stature, these recent results are – as I am sure you all agree – unacceptable,” he said, “I took on this job with one simple aim: to make sure we never find ourselves in this position again.”
In the short-to-medium term Neal said priorities include stripping out underwriting costs to make the market more competitive, to continue the move to electronic underwriting and to make better use of alternative capital.
Neal also promised a “new geographical focus” with the aim of concentrating on developed markets with potential for future growth, such as the US, and new opportunities in Europe through its new Brussels subsidiary, as well as focusing on emerging markets “where we are likely to see the best return on our investment”.
Neal said that longer term he wanted Lloyd’s to become the global marketplace for commercial corporate and specialty reinsurance and said he wanted Lloyd's to be the most technologically advanced insurance marketplace.
He also said that Lloyd’s would announce a string of new executive appointments in the coming weeks as he moves to assemble his top team.
Meanwhile, Lloyd's said today it had appointed former US senator John Sununu as a new member of its council for a three-year term.
The council is responsible for the supervision of Lloyd's market.
Lloyd's said Sununu's appointment will ensure it has outstanding US political and regulatory experience to draw from.