Lloyd's of London

Lloyd's 'pervasive culture of sexual harassment'

Lloyd's of London
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The Bank of England's warning shot came after the Lloyd's of London insurance market was rocked earlier this year by reports of a pervasive culture of sexual harassment.

The 333-year-old group then admitted "ugly, stark and unacceptable" results of an independently commissioned survey in September, which revealed nearly 500 of its workers had witnessed sexual harassment in the past year.

Lloyd's chief executive John Neal said the findings of the poll of more than 6,000 staff were far worse than expected, and vowed to reform the group's culture.

In April the institution set out a new code of conduct that included a ban on its staff drinking between 9am and 5pm.

Insurers warned to improve workplace cultures

Bullying boss
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Insurance firms have been warned to improve their workplace cultures after recent reports revealing sexual harassment and bullying.

In a letter to all chief executives of general insurance firms, the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority said the revelations were of "deep concern".

It warned that senior managers could face bans in cases of non-financial misconduct.

The PRA's acting director of insurance supervision, Gareth Truran said: "Senior management should be careful to ensure that commercial pressure to deliver results does not translate into inappropriate pressure on individuals within control functions to weaken assumptions."

For its part, Lloyd's is launching a "Speaking up campaign" by the end of the year to encourage people to act when they see or experience inappropriate behaviour.

'Devastated' said Lloyd's boss

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In March Lloyd's of London announced a plan to tackle sexual harassment after reports that female employees face an "entrenched" culture of sexism at the insurance market.

Women had told Bloomberg and the Independent they were "leered" and "letched" at and judged on their looks.

John Neal, chief executive of Lloyd's, spoke to the Today Programme as the insurer was reporting its results.

He said the market was "devastated" by the reports and commissioned the largest ever cultural survey of the market.

Lloyd's insurance market profits rise

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The Lloyd's of London insurance market has reported a profit before tax for the first half of the year of £2.3bn, up from £600m a year earlier.

John Neal, Lloyd's chief executive, said: "It is encouraging that the Lloyd's market is showing increased discipline in 2019 as evidenced by a reduction in gross written premiums and an improvement in the attritional loss ratio for the current underwriting year.

However, we recognise the importance of continued focus on performance management to maintain this momentum throughout the rest of 2019 and beyond."

'We've still got a huge amount to do on diversity'

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Bruce Carnegie-Brown
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More on Lloyd's of London which has published 2018 results today.

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the chairman of the insurance market, has just been on the Today programme to discuss its new initiative to tackle sexual harassment after a Bloomberg report that female employees have been "leered" and "letched" at and judged on their looks.

"We really didn't know the extent of the problem until Bloomberg shone a light on it. We've actually had a number of initiatives over the last few years trying to make the market more diverse and inclusive, but we hadn't got to the root of the issue," Mr Carnegie-Brown told Today.

He said that previous Lloyd's of London chief executive Inga Beale had done a great job in championing diversity for the five years until she stepped down in June 2018, but "I think we realise that we've still got a huge amount more to do on diversity".

Mr Carnegie-Brown added that there were definitely women on the shortlist to become the next chief executive, even though John Neal was eventually picked for the job in October.

He said that Lloyd's of London had powers over the businesses in its building, and could enforce a life-time ban from the market for failure to tackle sexual harassment.

Insurance losses

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Full-year losses at the Lloyd's of London insurance market have narrowed to £1bn from £2bn.

The market said there were several large natural catastrophes last year including hurricanes Florence and Michael, Typhoon Jebi in Japan, as well as the Californian wildfires.

These disasters led to major claims costing the market £2.9bn, significantly higher than the long-term average of £1.9bn.

Lloyd's new chief executive, John Neal, said: "The market's aggregated 2018 results report a combined ratio of 104.5%, and a £1bn loss. This performance is not of the standard that we would expect of a market that has both the heritage and quality of Lloyd's".

"We have implemented stronger performance management measures which will remain an enduring feature of how we go about our business. We expect these actions to deliver progressive performance improvement across the market beginning in 2019 and in the years to come," he added.