GWP less treaty: £12.4bn
1 Lime Street, London EC3M 7HA
t: 020 7327 1000
Year established: 1688
Major shareholders: Individual members, corporations
Number of UK offices: 1
Number of UK employees: 593
Main lines of business: Insurance and reinsurance, non-life
Lloyd's began in Edward Lloyd's Thames-side coffee house in Tower Street in the City of London. Although the exact date of its establishment is unknown, evidence exists that Lloyd's coffee house was well-known in London business circles by 1688.
Lloyd himself was not involved in insurance but provided premises, reliable shipping news and a variety of services to enable his clientele of ships' captains, merchants and rich men to carry on their business of insuring ships and their cargoes.
The wealthy individuals in the coffee house would each take a share of a risk, signing their names one beneath the other on the policy, together with the amount they agreed to cover. For this reason they were known as 'underwriters'. Lloyd died in 1713 but the coffee house continued to prosper as a centre for marine insurance.
By the end of the 18th century the underwriters had elected a committee and moved to their own premises in the Royal Exchange. Only members of Lloyd's were allowed to accept insurance business.
The Society of Lloyd's was incorporated by the Lloyd's Act 1871 which provided the business with a sound legal basis and laid the foundations for today's market.
By the turn of the century the traditional club of marine underwriters had become an international market for insurance risks of almost every type.
Chief officer: Nick Prettejohn
Biography: Prettejohn joined the Corporation of Lloyd's in 1995 as head of strategy.
He played a key role in the reconstruction and renewal (R&R) process which reorganised Lloyd's after the losses of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Following the successful completion of R&R in 1996, Prettejohn spearheaded the reorganisation of the corporation's functions into six business units and became managing director of Lloyd's business development unit.
With responsibility for the international and marketing departments, he oversaw Lloyd's development in new markets, most notably Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. In 1998, Prettejohn also assumed responsibility for Lloyd's North America business unit and, in July 1999, he was appointed chief executive.
As chief executive, he chairs the Lloyd's Market Board, which is responsible for the development and growth of Lloyd's worldwide business. He is also responsible for the re-organisation of the corporation to service the needs and requirements of the market.
Prior to joining Lloyd's, he was director of corporate strategy at National Freight Corporation, one of the first privatisations of the Thatcher era.
Between 1991 and 1994, he was a director of Apax Partners, a private equity fund.