* John Neal to start Oct. 15
* Lloyd’s suffered loss of 2 bln pounds last year
* Brexit planning a top priority, says chairman (Adds detail, background)
By Noor Zainab Hussain and Simon Jessop
Sept 7 (Reuters) - Lloyd’s of London, the insurance market that covers risks from oil rigs to soccer stars’ legs, has appointed former QBE Insurance Group boss John Neal as chief executive.
Neal, who began his insurance career as a Lloyd’s underwriter in 1985, will take over from the commercial insurance market’s first female CEO, Inga Beale.
The June announcement of Beale’s departure came amid concerns that Lloyd’s was losing ground to rival centres such as Singapore and failing to stem losses.
The venerable insurance market that began life in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688 endured a tough 2017, racking up a 2 billion pound loss after a series of natural disasters.
An immediate priority for Neal, who left Australian insurer QBE last year after more than five years at the helm, will be the launch of a Brussels subsidiary to enable Lloyd’s to continue serving its customers in the European Economic Area after Britain leaves the European Union, Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said in a statement.
Last month Lloyd’s said that the head of its Brexit operations, Vincent Vandendael, was leaving to join Everest Insurance.
The market’s Brussels subsidiary is due to start operating by January 2019. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman)