Lloyd’s CEO says Bermuda one of only two credible markets
Bermuda is just one of two credible insurance markets, according to the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, who completed two days of meetings with the Bermuda market and flew out of the island yesterday.
Industry veteran John Neal met with the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which included wide-ranging talks on a number of matters of mutual interest, he told The Royal Gazette.
The man who started at Lloyd’s as an underwriter in the 1980s took over the reins as the chief executive of the venerable institution three years ago. And he is on a mission of improvement.
His current tour of duty is visiting key markets to press the flesh and determine future working relationships, as he seeks to build Lloyd’s into an even better institution — to pull it into its role of 21st-century leadership.
When we spoke to him, he had nothing but high praise for the Bermuda market. (See related story.)
“Bermuda has completely proved its value and its worth in financial services, not just insurance,” he said.
“I genuinely think there are two credible markets for insurance in the world: Bermuda and London. So, I think the opportunity for us is to work out where we are different and respect our differences, but actually much more importantly, work out where we have common interests, and common goals and opportunities, and see if we can’t be more collected in the way we work through those.”
He noted the improved, and important, relationship between Bermuda and Lloyd’s — a relationship that has made a significant recovery over the decades.
Important figures within the Lloyd’s market once turned up their nose at the Bermuda insurance industry, referring to it as “naive capital”.
But that was a different industry — before the growth of two powerful Bermuda-born insurance companies from the Eighties, and a significant start to a dominant reinsurance market that began in the Nineties.
Today, Bermuda is a different market, one Neal watched mature during his working life in London, the US and Australia since the 1980s.
His view is not about the differences between Bermuda and Lloyd’s, but about what they share.
Mr Neal insisted: “It’s a very symbiotic relationship between Lloyd’s and Bermuda, and I think that’s healthy, and I think we have to look at how we can partner together as we look to the future.“
He noted that there are 12 Bermuda insurance groups active at Lloyd’s making for a very strong cross-interest.
On Lloyd’s paper, he says, that represents premium income of about $4.5 billion out of the nearly $50 billion in Lloyd’s total business — or less than 10 per cent.
Mr Neal’s visit to Bermuda included meeting with some of the principals of those very companies.
So the visit, he said, “is a good time to hear their views on what they see the opportunities, threats and challenges are, and a good opportunity to catch up with the Finance Ministry, the regulator and a few others”.
Mr Neal said that a meeting with the new Bermuda Monetary Authority CEO Craig Swan was an opportunity “to update him with our perspectives as to what’s happening in Europe.”
“There is a lot of change with the UK departing Europe,” he said. “And secondly, just ensuring that we are properly connected into the BMA and that anything that we can do to help and support them we are doing, and vice versa, anything that we’re doing that is troubling them, they are able to highlight with us.”
He said that the wide-ranging discussion included talks on business opportunities for the future, technical matters, AI in insurance and what Lloyd’s is doing around technology in looking to the future.