LONDON (Reuters) – When the pandemic is over, the brokers of Lloyd’s of London could haggle with underwriters from home in their underpants, and ditch their pinstripes at the office.
A trade body representing brokers took a swipe at tradition on Thursday, recommending that the commercial insurance market which has prided itself for centuries on face-to-face transactions let brokers keep working from home.
And when they turn up at the Lloyd’s of London city tower, they should no longer face a “stuffy” dress code, said trade body LIIBA.
The 330-year-old market still uses face-to-face trading, though deals have mostly had to be conducted online through much of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 50,000 people work in broking and underwriting firms operating at Lloyd’s. Everyone in the building is required to wear smart business attire, although in recent years the rule requiring men wear neckties has been relaxed.
Lloyd’s underwriters typically receive queues of brokers at their desks to haggle over terms, before sealing deals with an old-fashioned company stamp and ink signature.
When the market returns to physical trading, there should be “an end to…long queues for brokers at Lloyd’s for simple policy endorsements, dress codes and any insistence on being full-time in the office”, LIIBA said.
“We envisage a world where face-to-face meetings continue to be at the core of how London distinguishes itself from the competition, albeit in a more flexible environment with slightly less focus on EC3,” said Christopher Croft, CEO of LIIBA, referring to the post-code for London’s City financial district.
“The balance of home/office working will not return to the pre-March 2020 status quo,” LIIBA said.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Peter Graff)