Net premiums written 1999
$11,171m (£7,839.4m)

European head office:
One Lime Street,
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7327 1000

Established in 1688 (approx).

Main classes of business: A full range of risks

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 and 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 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. Lloyd's pre-eminence as a world centre for insurance had been established.

Saxon Riley- Chairman

Saxon Riley, 61, joined Cornhill Insurance Company in 1955 and, in 1961, moved to Scholfields, then one of Manchester's largest insurance brokers.

In 1964, he joined Price Forbes and was almost immediately seconded to Price Forbes in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1970 Riley returned to London and, following a series of managerial positions, was appointed a director of Sedgwick Group in 1985 and a member of its executive committee in December 1988.

Riley became chairman of Sedgwick Broking Services on its formation in 1989. In 1990, he was appointed vice-chairman of Sedgwick Group and in January 1992, group managing director with responsibility for the group's insurance, reinsurance, broking and risk services activities worldwide. In July 1992, he was appointed chief executive and became chairman in March 1997. In January 1999, he was appointed a director of Marsh and McLennan Companies.

He was elected to the Council of Lloyd's in January 1999.

Nicholas Prettejohn- CEO
Nick Prettejohn, 40, 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 saw Lloyd's development in new markets, most notably Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. In 1998, he also assumed responsibility for Lloyd's North America business unit and in July 1999, he was appointed chief executive of Lloyd's.

As chief executive, he chairs 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 privatisation's of the Thatcher era. Between 1991 and 1994, he was a director of Apax Partners, a private equity fund.

Prettejohn began his business career in 1982 as a research associate with management consultants Bain and Co.