LONDON (Reuters) - The Lloyd’s of London insurance market plans to make it compulsory for the 80 syndicates that operate under its roof to process their transactions electronically, it said on Monday.
The world’s biggest commercial insurance market, which has been losing market share, is seeking to cut costs partly by a move to electronic processing, but progress has been slow.
“Without higher levels of (electronic placement) adoption throughout the market, we put our investment to date at risk and we are in danger of seeing administration costs rise even higher,” Lloyd’s chief executive Inga Beale said in a statement.
“It is for this reason that Lloyd’s is proposing to mandate the use of electronic placement on a phased basis over time,” she added. The timescale will be worked out at a series of industry briefings, a Lloyd’s spokesman said.
Insurance staff traditionally carry their documentation around the 14-storey Lloyd’s building in the City of London in briefcases - or slipcases.
Only 10 percent of Lloyd’s business is currently processed through the market’s electronic placement platform, which launched in Sept 2016, the spokesman said.
In addition to administrative costs, Lloyd’s is grappling with the impact of last year’s record levels of insurance losses from natural disasters.
It is also setting up a subsidiary in Brussels following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
Lloyd’s, which started life in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in 1688, takes on a wide range of insurance risks, from natural catastrophes to highly specialised business such as footballers’ legs.
Reporting by Carolyn Cohn. Editing by Jane Merriman