THE WORLD’S LEADING MARINE INSURANCE PROVIDER
Lloyd’s of London has been the world’s leading provider of marine insurance for nearly 300 years. See below some of the key events that made Lloyd’s one of the world’s most famous and respected providers of marine insurance:
1730 Lloyd’s begins to dominate shipping insurance
Lloyd’s was located at 16 Lombard Street, London, in the very centre of the business world at that time, and emerging as the location for marine underwriting by individuals. The American Revolution of the 1770s, followed by the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s, would soon demonstrate just how vital marine insurance could be. It would bring large profits to those who provided it – but it brought huge losses too. During this period Lloyd’s began to dominate shipping insurance on a global scale.
1734 Lloyd’s List appears and is still going strong
The first edition of the Lloyd’s List, one of the world’s longest running journals, was published by Thomas Jemson. He used Lloyd’s name and not his own because by this time, the establishment had instant recognition in the shipping community and a dedicated audience who would pay for subscriptions. More than 300 years on, the paper still provides weekly shipping news to London and beyond.
1739 Lloyd’s is the centre of maritime information
The Battle of Portobello took place between British naval force aiming to capture the settlement of Portobello in Panama and its Spanish defenders. It resulted in a popularly acclaimed British victory. Richard Baker, Lloyd’s master at the time, delivered the news to 10 Downing Street, and Lloyd’s had become the centre of all maritime information.
1750 Underwriting first appears
The first concrete deals of actual underwriting were recorded in 1750. While there are no records remaining how the market was organised at the time, a Quaker businessman’s journal states that in 1757 he went to Lloyd’s coffee house and subscribed to the book at two guineas for the year.
1764 Weak and leaky vessels
One of the most important trials in insurance law history occurred in 1764. It concerned the voyage of the French-built Mills-Frigate – a vessel insured by Lloyd’s – which embarked on a voyage in what was described as a ‘weak, leaky and distressed condition’. A lengthy court case concluded with the agreement that a ship must be ‘seaworthy’ before leaving shore, and that a policy could not even be paid ‘on a ship which suffered from a latent defect unknown to both parties to the contract’. The judgement was said to have ‘hit the city of London like a thunderbolt’ – but it eventually became part of the general English law of marine insurance.
As the American Revolution and Napoleonic Wars were fought over four decades, Lloyd’s took its place as a key player in the global shipping insurance industry. During this time, Lloyd’s developed close ties with the Royal Navy and established the Patriotic Fund, which still works with armed forces charities to help individuals and their families in urgent need of support.
Lloyd’s intelligence of shipping movements had become better than the Navy’s, and in 1794, Lloyd’s reported the capture of a British vessel by a French privateer off Lowestoft (including the lost cargo) before the Admiralty knew that anything had occurred. A mutually useful relationship between Lloyd’s and the Admiralty had been established: Lloyd’s provided information and the Admiralty, protection.