Chubb President and CEO Evan Greenberg offered positive words about new Lloyd’s of London CEO John Neal, though he cautioned that the venerable insurance marketplace has a long way to go to address “long-term structural issues.”
What’s more, Greenberg added, there is only so much Neal can do in his capacity to effect major changes.
“I know John Neal. I think he’s a good man, and he is a good executive, and I wish him all the best in his role,” Greenberg said during Chubb’s Q3 2018 investor call on Oct. 24. “On the other hand, he’s the chief executive of a marketplace – and the syndicates make their individual decisions regarding underwriting, and there is only so much that the Lloyd’s corporation can do about that.”
Greenberg emphasized that he views the Lloyd’s marketplace as being very important to the insurance industry, though he sees major revamping of the organization as a necessary thing.
“It has long-term structural issues, in my mind, that it ultimately has to address,” Greenberg said. “It’s a business model where the business seeks the market and comes to the market. That was a model that worked very well before a globalized world, and before a digitized world, and I think the world has changed.”
With that in mind, Greenberg said that the Lloyd’s model, for it “to survive and remain robust, has got to adapt.”
Lloyd’s “cost structure is way too high and the way you access the market…is way too inefficient,” Greenbeg said.
Inga Beale, the woman Neal replaced as CEO of Lloyd’s, has agreed that the task of reforming Lloyd’s, which she started to tackle, is daunting.
At the recent Insuretech Connect Conference, the former CEO said she faced a challenge even getting young people there to go along with her efforts to modernize the huge marketplace because like the veterans they too had “become comfortable” in the old Lloyd’s ways of doing business.
She said it took “two years for there to be a tipping point,” where she felt supported in her efforts to make Lloyd’s more digital.
Under her watch, Lloyd’s saw an increase in electronic placement volumes and launched the Lloyd’s Lab, an innovation accelerator.
Neal has also acknowledged he faces a challenge.
“As I begin this role, it is important that we focus on maintaining the market’s reputation for innovation, accelerating our efforts to modernize the ways in which we do business, and take the time to listen to all of our stakeholders, who are critical to the future wellbeing of the Lloyd’s market,” Neal said upon taking over.
*Andrew Simpson contributed to this story.