London underwriters told they must be transparent on availability

As businesses wrestle with the return to work there has been a call for the London insurance market to ensure that its underwriters are available within the Square Mile.

The Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) has called for a transparent, market-wide approach to the availability of underwriters in the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room and in their respective offices.

The Association’s underwriting director warned any lack of transparency or communication would seriously impair the ability of the market to operate.

The LMA said underwriters need to provide the industry with a degree of certitude around any business that needs to be conducted in person and ensure market participants can plan their own workplace arrangements accordingly.

It has now asked each of the market’s class of business committees to indicate when underwriters will be available in person to their broking partners and clients. The LMA proposes to agree and publish a common approach as soon as this week.

Patrick Davison, underwriting director of the LMA, said: “The value of in person meetings with clients and brokers cannot be understated. The face-to-face engagement and dynamic nature of the underwriting room is part of what makes Lloyd’s the preeminent insurance market in the world. Greater consistency and transparency on when underwriters will be physically available to meet brokers and clients, either at the box or their offices, is therefore now needed if we are to fully realise the benefits from the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

“This will, of course, be balanced against the flexible working arrangements that companies have implemented, which so many have come to greatly value. The LMA Committees for each class of business will be working with members to arrive at a consistent approach on which days, each week, underwriters from that particular class will be available to their broking counterparts. We are confident that this will allow the market to return to face-to-face trading where it provides greater value while allowing for increased flexibility.

“We recognise that this will be a gradual process and the flexibility introduced into working arrangements is here to stay, as it benefits a clear majority of the workforce and businesses at Lloyd’s. However, now is the time to begin implementing a system that allows for a more transparent and market-wide approach to presence in the underwriting room.”

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