Lloyd’s recently hosted its annual New York City Dinner at the St Regis Hotel where more than one hundred senior executives attended from the US insurance, financial services, legal and media industries – and leading members of the Lloyd’s market.
The Guest of Honour was Brian Duperreault, President & CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies and formerly Chairman of Ace Underwriting Services. He joined Lord Levene on the speaker’s rostrum where both men gave an account of the insurance industry in 2011.
Duperreault commented that “Lloyd’s was created in a London coffee house in 1688,” adding that “it was in 1689 that industry observers first started asking “So…when do you think we’ll see an improvement in pricing?”
He continued on this theme, analysing the evolution of the insurance cycle and how the “market psyche” can influence pricing. Duperreault said that the cycle might harden in 2011, but that wasn’t the central issue. More important was the ability of the market to write at prices that are sustainable over the long term – what the Marsh boss describes as “smart” underwriting.
Insurance absorbs risk
Lord Levene also focused on the insurance industry for his speech. Drawing on his recent visits to New Zealand and Australia, and the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001, the Lloyd’s Chairman described how the international reinsurance industry represents the benign side of international capital flows. Insurance, he claimed, absorbs risk, it doesn’t spread it.
This was, of course, Lord Levene’s final New York City Dinner as Chairman of Lloyd’s. He paid tribute to the work of Richard Ward and Nick Prettejohn (Lloyd’s CEO from 1999 to 2005) – and that of their teams, as well as all the market participants. Lord Levene has evidently enjoyed his time in the industry: “In the time that I have had the privilege to serve as Chairman of Lloyd's, it has been a real pleasure to see first hand the positive contribution which insurance makes to global stability,” he said.
Lord Levene tribute
Duperreault also spoke positively about Lloyd’s performance in recent years, commending “the rigor and discipline imposed by their Franchise model”.
The Marsh Chairman and former syndicate owner paid a generous tribute to Lloyd’s, and to Lord Levene, who he described as providing “stewardship to one of the world’s most enduring institutions during a period of extraordinary change, and during one of the most difficult financial periods in modern history.
“Lloyd’s is in a far better position today than it was in 2002, and I congratulate Lord Levene and the Lloyd’s management team on their accomplishments,” Dupperreault added.