Lloyd’s Lord Levene’s L.A. Speech Lauds London

April 28, 2008

Lloyd’s Chairman Lord Levene told an audience of around 100 business executives in Los Angeles on Friday that London’s strengths as a leading global financial center have not been diminished by the credit crunch. Addressing the subject of current economic challenges, Levene highlighted London’s infrastructure, its huge cluster of talent, its open and international outlook, and its breadth and depth of financial expertise.

“I have been asked a lot since the [credit] crisis developed, what I think the future holds in store for London as a financial center,” he began. “My answer on that is clear. London’s strengths as a global financial center are as impressive as they have always been.”

The event, hosted by the British American Business Group, was part of the program for Brit Week; a celebration of 50 years of British links with Los Angeles, and Lord Levene was keen to emphasize the important links between the two economic centers of London and Los Angeles: “London is rightly viewed by many businesses in California not just as a gateway to the UK, but a gateway to the whole of Europe – which is the largest market of consumers in the world.”

He also highlighted the increasing globalization of the financial services sector, indicating that it was critical to take advantage of investment opportunities in emerging markets, while also promoting free trade.

“At Lloyd’s, emerging markets are very much top of our agenda. Last week, Lloyd’s became the first reinsurer to be admitted in Brazil under new legislation which has opened up the market there,” he noted. “And, a year ago, we launched Lloyd’s China in Shanghai.”

Levene added his approval of “recent efforts in the United States to reform protectionist regulation of the insurance industry were welcome, and strong efforts must continue to be made to promote free trade.”

The bulletin noted that “Lloyd’s has been insuring risks in California for over 100 years, and it was during the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 that Lloyd’s established its strong reputation for paying claims that still distinguishes the market today. Lloyd’s still provides cover for the state of California’s earthquake risk, insuring thousands of Californian policyholders and reinsuring the California Earthquake Authority since its inception in 1996.

“Hollywood is another sector where Lloyd’s and California have enjoyed a long relationship through insurance of blockbusters, film stars, and music studios, to name a few. Lloyd’s also covers major sports figures in California in football, baseball, and basketball.

“Lloyd’s is the second largest non-admitted carrier in California, writing $1.1 billion worth of business in 2007. Lloyd’s insures 93 percent of Dow Jones Industrial Average companies and 81 percent of Fortune 500 US companies.”

“It is difficult to think of an institution which is as distinctively British as Lloyd’s, but at the same time, which has such a strong relationship with Los Angeles and, more widely, the state of California,” Levene concluded.

Source: Lloyd’s – www.lloyds.com

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