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Lloyd’s to trial virtual underwriting room in COVID-19 response

1st June 2020 - Author: Matt Sheehan

As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance and reinsurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London is planning to explore options for a “virtual” underwriting room.

The idea is to add online elements that allow brokers and underwriters to connect in a similar way to the physical 1 Lime Street location in London, Chief Operations Officer Jennifer Rigby explained during a Lloyd’s video blog.

Rigby said that a virtual room would form part of a series of “experiments spikes” that the marketplace would trial in the coming weeks.

“They’re focused on developing pilots at pace and they’ll enable us to test ideas, to iterate those, progress them as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then discard the ones that won’t help and won’t deliver value quickly,” she noted.

The COO acknowledged that the experiments had been “fast tracked” in response to the pandemic, so that brokers and underwriters are better able to connect and to trade, as the market continues to navigate the challenges of remote working throughout lockdown.

Lloyd’s closed its underwriting floor on March 19 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and does not plan to reopen before August.

But despite this the market is still moving forward with its Future at Lloyd’s delivery program, albeit with some priorities being refocused.

“COVID not withstanding, it’s been a great start to the Future at Lloyd’s delivery program so far this year. We want to keep up this momentum,” Rigby said.

As such Lloyd’s will continue to focus on its top three priorities of developing PPL, digital coverholder solutions, and its claim solution, as well as the data and technology needed to support them.

“Our market has responded well to the current crisis,” Lloyd’s CEO John Neal stated during the same video blog. “Necessity being the mother of invention, the market has rallied around electronic trading to continue to operate remotely, and to pay valid claims quickly and efficiently.”

“As we begin to ease out of lockdown, the ideas discussed in our Future at Lloyd’s strategy take on even more significance. I think we all believe that the new post-lockdown world, whatever that looks like, will be even more driven by digital technology and data,” Neal went on.

“This is an opportunity for our industry, but one we will only grasp if we develop new business models, embrace new technologies, and foster innovation to give customers the products and the services they need.”

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