Lloyd’s is shutting its London underwriting room at 1 Lime Street for one day for a contingency planning exercise in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on March 13 and for 24 hours, Lloyd’s will stress-test its alternative trading protocols to assess the market’s ability to continue trading if the underwriting room needs to be closed at any point.

While the underwriting room will be closed on Friday, March 13, all day, the market will still be trading, electronically and via emails. This is a business continuity exercise, Lloyd’s said, and there will be no disruption in how the market operates, except there won’t be face-to-face underwriting.

Although approximately 45,000 people have passes to enter the building, the closure will affect the several thousand people who enter Lloyd’s on any given day.

Lloyd’s CEO John Neal said this is the first time the Lloyd’s underwriting room has been closed in its history.

In a statement, Lloyd’s described the exercise as a ramping up of business continuity preparations and reassurance for the market, employees and customers in the event of an escalation of contingency measures due to COVID-19.

During the closure of the building, Lloyd’s said it will take the opportunity to deep clean the underwriting room and all public areas.

Other contingency planning activities and coronavirus responses include:

  • On a single day during March, Lloyd’s will require all corporation employees to work from home.
  • On March 16, the market will test a working-from-home rota system, requiring one-third of the risk management team to work in the office, one-third to work off-site at a business continuity location and one-third from home. This could be rolled out across other corporation teams if necessary.
  • The Corporation of Lloyd’s is putting a ban on any international travel until the first of May.

As yet, there are no confirmed coronavirus cases within the Lloyd’s marketplace.

*This story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.

Topics Excess Surplus Underwriting London Lloyd's COVID-19