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The future of work

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This past week at Olderhood Bill Storie and I were fortunate to spend some time chatting with John Neal, CEO of Lloyd’s of London, for a three-part video interview for our Leaders In Action, Looking Ahead video series.

During our wide-ranging discussion, which touched on everything from Lloyd’s humble beginnings in a coffee house on the banks of the River Thames 334 years ago to their ambitious plan (known as Blueprint II) to “redesign the insurance transaction process for open-market and delegated authority business” by leveraging the emerging realities of conducting business during Covid-19, we discussed what it is like to literally reimagine a traditional business.

Lloyd’s is a fascinating example of how a traditional global marketplace can excel during this volatile time by leveraging technology and social media to streamline and simplify a complex business interaction for the benefit of all.

Neal finds himself at the helm of Lloyd’s during a pivotal phase of their development when the challenge is not just to manage “risk” but to re-imagine both their daily operations and use of physical space for the benefit and inclusion of the 50,000 people across a broad spectrum of industries from around the world who normally access their facilities.

The old standard of the broker visiting the Lloyd’s building to meet one or several underwriters is the keystone of the Lloyd’s marketplace. Presenting information, reports, data on a particular submission (a proposed business matter seeking insurance) is the basic platform of the insurance business and, certainly in these troubled times where in-person meetings are not possible, the use of technology and remote meetings online are the only substitutes available.

Until such time as “walk-ins” will be allowed again, the brokers are having to change the way they do business. Every day, new methods are being explored by the entire Lloyd’s “family” and the most agile members are making the most of new online processes.

But pivoting to meet the needs of the future of work is not a one-step process and embracing the lessons that have been learned during the pandemic is key to the future success of business operations at Lloyds. While a virtual underwriting room has been successfully used on a trial basis during two lockdowns, the value of human interaction in the creation of underwriting business solutions cannot be dismissed.

Yes, a “data-led digital market” can streamline data extraction, validation, and manual processing but Lloyd’s has also learned that people need to be free to meet, collaborate and create face to face as well.

By combining the best of digital and physical interactions, and even inviting their members and Twitter followers to have their say regarding the future of their underwriting room at their London headquarters by participating in a focus groups, Lloyd’s is on a mission to quite literally “future-proof” their market from yet unknown global challenges.

There is no doubt that having gone through two world wars, military skirmishes in far-off lands, economic upheavals, political rollercoasters and now climate change, that the old coffee house will still be serving coffee for decades to come.

Watch our conversation with John Neal here: https://bit.ly/2ZDpQ1T

Robin Trimingham is the chief operating officer of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a virtual presenter, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/olderhoodgroup1/ or robin@olderhood.com

John Neal, CEO of Lloyd’s of London

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Published February 23, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 23, 2021 at 9:01 am)

The future of work

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