Lloyd’s has a ‘proud history’ of innovation - and this is set to continue 

By Technology Editor Clare Ruel

There’s no doubt about it - outgoing Lloyd’s Lab leader Ed Gaze is a bit of a legend in the world of insurtech. 

The announcement in May 2022 about his imminent departure from the accelerator programme saw Lloyd’s Lab alumni rally to commend his work, touting him as an “insurtech visionary” and a “champion of innovation”.

Clare Ruel

Clare Ruel 

Lloyd’s Lab is nestled on the fourth floor at Lloyd’s of London’s Lime Street building. It is deemed to be the “heart of innovation for insurance”, dedicated to accelerating and fostering new solutions to suit evolving customer needs.

While it is best known for its insurtech incubator scheme, Lloyd’s Lab is now also the home of all things innovation.

Gaze, who has been Lloyd’s Lab’s senior manager for four years, has been with the incubator since its inception in 2018 - he has seen more than 90 insurtechs through the scheme.

On 6 June 2022, Lloyd’s Lab opened its application process for cohort nine, with Sønr Global appointed as the cohort’s scouting partner. The deadline for applications is fast approaching on 10 July 2022.

The new cohort is seeking submissions from firms that are using technology to predict when clients might experience a loss, or to help insurers quantify exposures to new risks, such as intangible assets. Lloyd’s Lab is also seeking startups that are offering parametric or bundled products that add to an existing service.

Gaze is due to step down in August this year - Lloyd’s Lab and innovation staffer Rosie Denee and Tom Allebone-Webb, Lloyd’s of London’s head of strategy, will be taking over the reins.

Meanwhile, Kieran Linger, former sales executive at Worldwide Business Research, joined the Lab as its new associate on 27 June 2022.

But what exactly is innovation when it comes to Lloyd’s Lab?

Innovation is…

According to dictionary publisher Oxford Languages, innovation is defined as “the action or process of innovating” or “a new method, idea or product”.

In a December 2018 video about the Lloyd’s Lab, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, Lloyd’s of London’s chairman, said: “Lloyd’s Lab has a terrific reputation for innovation. We have been involved in insuring the first planes, the first motorcars.”

However, despite this “proud history” of innovation, he admitted that there was still “a lot more to do”. In his opinion, it is important that Lloyd’s builds its reputation for innovation so that the marketplace can increase its relevance for customers.

Programme potential

Each cohort that enters Lloyd’s Lab is enlisted in a 10-week programme and assigned three to eight mentors - these mentors span the Lloyd’s market, but some are external.

The programme runs twice a year, cherry-picking the very best 10 to 12 early stage startups or insurtechs per cohort.

Overall, the Lab looks for propositions that have “true potential to create commercial value for the Lloyd’s market” by reducing acquisition expenses, for example.

Very often, different cohorts will have different focuses too. For example, the Lab’s fifth cohort centred around Covid-19 pandemic solutions.

In August 2020, Ben Carey-Evans, insurance analyst at GlobalData, said of this cohort: “All 10 startups are looking to offer digital solutions and data analytics, as opposed to being consumer facing.

”While insurers may not be looking to invest large sums due to pressure on profitability, successful insurtechs like these could help increase process efficiency and gain better insights from the wealth of customer data they hold.”

Fast forward to the current cohort, number eight, and the focus this time is on climate change and decarbonisation.

This cohort includes reinsurer Swiss Re, which entered an idea for a prototype that can collect and examine environmental, social and governance data about private firms for insurance companies, to help decarbonise insurance portfolios. 

It is clear that Gaze has left a lasting impression on Lloyd’s Lab, with many insurtechs sad to see him go. However, the Lab lives on in the safe hands of Allebone-Webb and Denee.

I can’t wait to see what cohort nine has in store for the market and how Lloyd’s Lab will continue to evolve post-Covid.