Monday, 28 March 2011

Bad News at Lloyds

It's always bad news at Lloyds, it's what they deal in. As the world's largest insurance market they don't pay out on good news! We had such niceties and much more besides explained to us by an expert guide when 2 parties of Marketors toured the building on Friday. Designed in 1977 it looks as modern today as it did when first opened 25 years ago in 1986. The reason all the services are on the outside of the building is simply, it was explained, so that more space is available inside.A bit like the Pompidou Centre in Paris, another Richard Rogers masterpiece.

Our vist started with a thorough explanation of the history of Lloyds going back to Mr Lloyds coffee shop and on into a description of what Lloyds does. Which is everything from insuring against catastrophes and terrorism to Marine insurance, the foundation of Lloyds originally, and aviation, casualty, property, oil rigs----in fact anything anyone wants to insure including football teams in flight to overseas away games or even ballerina's legs. We then toured the building looking at the boxes from where the underwriting syndicates operate and saw the magnificent treasures presented to Lord Nelson by a grateful Lloyds for keeping the sea routes open, protected, and free for trade.

Finally we saw the famous Lutine bell recovered after the HMS Lutine sank in a heavy gale in the mouth of the Zuider Zee in 1799. It was carrying a great amount of coin and bullion and the loss was underwritten by Lloyds. This is the bell that is only rung when it's very bad news at Lloyds.

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