Lloyd’s of London Today
Moneyed, historied, and thoroughly British, Lloyd’s of London is an insurance market associated with the cooler aspects of insurance: insuring for alien abductions, priceless works of art, and celebrity likenesses, as well as dispatching insurance investigators that would give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. Needless to say, Lloyd’s of London is a colorful enterprise.
Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House and the Espresso Machine
Lloyd’s gets its name from Edward Lloyd, who began a coffee house in 1686. During the heyday of maritime enterprise, merchants and other businessmen held their business meetings at Lloyd’s and other coffee houses--proving that the world does run on coffee. Though only traces of the coffeehouse exist today, Llody’s of London is currently housed in a building known as the Espresso Machine.
This corporate building features a history exhibit, a giant bell wrung when there’s big news, an important meeting room from the 18th century, and all the typical insurance office accoutrements.
And yes, they still serve coffee.
Lloyd’s has no duplicate. There’s only one like it on planet Earth. It’s the reason it garners such international intrigue. What is is NOT is an actual insurance company. As stated before, Lloyd’s is an insurance market; they arrange unique insurance policies for uncommon and/or thorny risks.
So, what kinds of thorny, uncommon risks?
Lloyd’s Most Expensive, Impossible, and Out-of-Left Field Requests
When nobody else would dare, Lloyd’s of London will. Ever wonder who would cover for something as cosmic as a space satellite or as nebulous as destruction via Loch Ness monster? Look no further. Below is just a sample of what Lloyd’s underwriters have been willing to insure:
Syndicates and Investigations: Just Another Day at the Office
Because Lloyd’s of London is not a traditional insurance company, members join syndicates to insure risks. Oftentimes, they are creating brand new syndicates for brand new risks. According to Lloyd’s official website, “ Much of Lloyd's business works by subscription, where more than one syndicate takes a share of the same risk.”
But expensive, high-risk policies and claims are also a breeding ground for scandal. Lloyd’s of London employs highly skilled insurance investigators to look into suspicious claims and untimely deaths.
The set-up has proved intriguing enough that quite a few fictional detective series have used insurance investigations as the set-up for the perfect crime. Below are two more colorful examples of fictional I.I.’s:
Johnny Dollar - A fictional detective with a radio series of the same name, he investigated snaky claims and insurance fraud during the heyday of the radio drama--running for 811 episodes over the span of 12 years, from 1949 to 1962.
Master Keaton - A popular Japanese comic book series that followed an absent-minded professor with hidden talents: part archaeology professor, part insurance investigator, part S.I.S. vet, with a mental handbook for surviving just about any situation you can think of. Author Naoki Urusawa inked his erudite adventures from 1988 to 1994--and the series proved so popular it got a limited time sequel that ran from 2012 to 2014.
Proving that even insurance has a colorful side!