Lloyd’s announced the results of its culture survey, which was commissioned in March in the wake of press reports of rampant sexual harassment in the market. The survey confirms that many women are enduring a toxic culture of harassment, which Lloyd’s is aiming to correct.

“I’m appalled to say that 8% of people told us they’d witnessed sexual harassment in the past 12 months in the Lloyd’s market,” said CEO John Neal, in a video accompanying the survey announcement.

“That’s an ugly figure. And behind that number are the heartbreaking experiences of women — because women usually are the victims,” said Neal, noting that the survey revealed a more complex picture because sexual harassment is only part of the story.

For example, although 8% of the 6,000 respondents (or 480 people) have witnessed sexual harassment, just 45% said they would feel comfortable raising their concerns—so there’s a prevalent problem with people feeling like they don’t have a voice, while some executives turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.

“The standard you walk past is the one you accept. We cannot accept this behavior. We can do so much better. I’m absolutely confident that by taking these steps, we can move the dial and make the Lloyd’s market a brilliant place for everyone—whoever they are.”

The respondents, which were 60% men and 40% women, provided the basis for following key findings about the market’s culture:

  • Gender imbalance.
    — One in five respondents said they do not believe people have equal opportunities, regardless of gender
    — 8% of respondents witnessed sexual harassment in the Lloyd’s market in the past 12 months
    — For every question, women’s answers reflected a more negative experience than men’s. “Lloyd’s is a brilliant place to work but it has to be brilliant for everyone – and right now the experience of women is much less positive than it is for men,” said Neal in the video.
  • Not having a voice.
    — 38% of respondents said they did not know who to raise concerns to in the market
    — Only 45% were comfortable about raising a concern
    — Just 41% who raised their concerns felt they were listened to and taken seriously.
  • Problems with workplace wellbeing.
    — 24% have witnessed excessive consumption of alcohol in the Lloyd’s market during the past 12 months. “That’s good for no one – our people, our customers, or our businesses…” said Neal in the video.
    — 40% of respondents felt under excessive pressure to perform at work
    — 23% said that working at their organizations had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing.
  • Lack of leadership.
    — 1 in 6 respondents do not believe senior leaders in their organization take responsibility, especially when things go wrong. It’s a question of leadership, said Neal. “If we want to move the dial, it has to be driven from the top.”
    — 22% of respondents have seen people in their organization turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.
    — 24% of respondent agree that their organization primarily focuses on short-term results.

In light of these findings, Lloyd’s said it is focusing on four key themes that have emerged from the survey results:

1) The experience of women, 2) Speaking up, 3) Wellbeing and 4) Leadership.

“Now, these aren’t problems that are unique to the Lloyd’s market, but we are, and I am, utterly determined to take the bold steps we need to to drive change,” Neal emphasized. “If you care about something and want it to change, then you measure it.”

Action Plan to Drive Cultural Change

In response to the survey’s findings, Lloyd’s is taking a series of actions, which include:

  • A Gender Balance Plan to set targets for improving the representation of women at senior levels within the Lloyd’s market and the Corporation of Lloyd’s, which includes development programs to increase the gender balance of future leaders. “We will set gender balance targets for the firms in our market for boards, executive committees and their direct reports to assess gender balance in their leadership teams,” said Neal, noting that progress for the targets will be tracked and published each year.
  • Standards of Business Conduct to inform individuals and organizations of the standards that Lloyd’s expects them to meet and the consequences of failing to do so. “If you want to work in the market, there are three things you must do: act with integrity, be respectful and inclusive, always speak up. Do that, and you won’t go wrong,” Neal said, noting that failure to follow these rules might lead to sanctions from an individual’s firm and by Lloyd’s as well.
  • A campaign to encourage Speaking Up, including expanded “courageous bystander training” and further promotion of Lloyd’s independent bullying and harassment support line.
  • Enhanced focus on Wellbeing with a market-wide campaign to raise awareness of personal resilience and mental health via workshops and events.
  • The introduction of a Culture Dashboard to closely monitor progress in the Lloyd’s market against key metrics to improve culture across the Lloyd’s market, which will be published in Lloyd’s annual report. Neal said the culture survey will be repeated every year.

Independent Advisory Group

In addition, to challenge progress and ensure that Lloyd’s is taking the right actions, Lloyd’s said it will appoint an independent advisory group comprised of leading experts with experience of successful cultural transformation. This group will be chaired by Fiona Luck, a Lloyd’s board member and non-executive director responsible for talent and culture.

Lloyd’s started its cultural transformation program in March, in reaction to press reports of sexual harassment in the marketplace. At the time, it instituted rules for the behavior of market practitioners – who work for brokers and managing agents, for example. Perpetrators of sexual harassment could be subject to sanctions from their own companies and also from Lloyd’s, which could include a temporary bar from entering Lloyd’s or potentially a lifetime ban.

Since March, two market practitioners have been suspended, according to a Lloyd’s source. At the same time, Lloyd’s brokers and underwriters have taken similar steps, including Tokio Marine Kiln Group Ltd., where two executives resigned after allegations of sexual harassment, and reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter, which fired an executive who sent a sexually suggestive email about a female colleague.

In April, Lloyd’s continued to tighten up its workplace rules by restricting people from entering a Lloyd’s premises who are drunk or under the influence of drugs. The Corporation of Lloyd’s made a first move in this direction in February 2017 by prohibiting its employees from drinking alcohol during business hours. Alcohol is often blamed as one of the causes of inappropriate behavior in the market.

Safe Working Environment

John Neal

“I am determined that we create a working environment at Lloyd’s where everyone feels safe, valued and respected. Cultural change takes time, but we have to accelerate progress and the measures announced today are intended to do just that,” said Neal in a statement accompanying the survey announcement.

‘The vast majority of people working at Lloyd’s are as committed as I am to taking the action we need to drive measurable results. Creating an inclusive marketplace is a priority for Lloyd’s and crucial to our long-term success.”

In the video, Neal quoted a “wise army general” who said: “The standard you walk past is the one you accept.”

“We cannot accept this behavior. We can do so much better. I’m absolutely confident that by taking these steps, we can move the dial and make the Lloyd’s market a brilliant place for everyone — whoever they are,” he said emphatically.

Market Comments

Representatives within the Lloyd’s and London markets have responded positively to the actions being taken as a result of the survey’s findings.

Christopher Croft

Christopher Croft, CEO of the London & International Insurance Brokers’ Association (LIIBA) welcomed the publication of Lloyd’s culture report.

“This report from Lloyd’s comes at an important time. There is no place for bullying or harassment in our marketplace and the expectations are rightly that our market will work collectively to address incidence of poor behavior,” he added.

“London’s broking community takes this initiative very seriously and LIIBA is working closely with our members and business partners to take concrete steps for improvement,” Croft said.

LIIBA has run a number of workshops on conduct in the workplace and inclusive behavior, he said, noting that this sort of support is particularly important for smaller broker members who don’t have the infrastructure of the larger companies.

Sheila Cameron

“Although the issues highlighted by the survey are not exclusive to this sector, we must be decisive and thorough in our response, firstly because it is the right thing to do and secondly, failure to act will damage our ability to attract and harness the talent that is so vital to the future competitiveness and success of the market,” commented Sheila Cameron, chief executive of the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), in a statement.

“I have seen the market change in a positive way in recent years, but this is a journey and there is still some way to go. We must ensure that the actions we now take together will help to regain the trust of the victims of harassment and bullying and will ensure that our marketplace is equally positive for women and men,” she continued.

The LMA Board, which includes 16 chief executives and other senior market leaders from Lloyd’s managing agents, has pledged to work actively through a CEO reporting network to tackle sexual misconduct in the market.

While Lloyd’s launched an independent 24/7 bullying and harassment helpline in April, the findings of Lloyd’s culture survey revealed that many of the respondents did not know who to raise concerns to about behavior in the Lloyd’s market, said the LMA.

Andrew Brooks

Andrew Brooks, LMA chairman and chief executive officer of Ascot Underwriting, said: “Any Ascot employee experiencing or witnessing inappropriate behavior in the marketplace can henceforth report it directly to me, in absolute confidence. I pledge personally to report such incidents to my counterpart at the relevant firm, in order for the firm to deal with the issue appropriately.”

The LMA said that Brooks’ fellow LMA board members have made similar commitments and are encouraging all market leaders across Lloyd’s to do the same.

“Everyone must feel comfortable in their workplace and with their colleagues from across the market, and no individuals are to be considered above reproach,” Brooks emphasized.

“Together we can stamp out the remaining poor behaviors,” Cameron went on to say. “Today very few people in the Lloyd’s market are willing to stand by silently when unacceptable behaviors are observed. With this constructive resolution we make it very clear that LMA members will take action at the very highest levels.”

Jennette Newman

“The Lloyd’s culture survey shows how badly change is needed if the market is to thrive. Over a fifth of people turning a blind eye on inappropriate behavior is unsustainable. Fewer than half feeling able to raise concerns, or confident they will be heard smacks of the last century not this one,” commented Jennette Newman, president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) and a partner at London-based law firm Clyde & Co.

“I hope the Lloyd’s culture survey sets a baseline for much-needed improvements in gender balance, standards of conduct and culture overall. Dashboards and targets are controversial – they can encourage a tick-box mentality and we need to move on from that,” Newman continued.

“However, I suspect for Lloyd’s and the deep-rooted cultures and complexities of the market, this is necessary,” she said. “It is somewhat hard to measure and accelerate progress without it.”

This article first was published in Carrier Management’s sister publication, Insurance Journal.