For the first time in its 316-year history Lloyd's has decided to refresh its identity As a world-renowned brand guru starts work on redefining it, Insurance Times invites its own brand specialist to help out.

The Lloyd's brand has never been under closer scrutiny. For the first time in its 316-year history, Lloyd's has employed a head of brand strategy and recruited brand guru Wally Olins and his team. Olins was the man behind the development of the BT, Prudential and Orange brands.

A series of workshops is now underway in the market, directed by Olins and his team, aimed at gauging the perception of the Lloyd's brand.

"We need to define what we stand for. We know we have strengths in global branding, but we don't know what we stand for in the future," Julian James, Lloyd's worldwide markets director told Insurance Times in March.

The cost of Lloyd's re-branding exercise is undisclosed. But it will not be cheap. It will also be a lengthy process, with over 120 interviews taking place with managing agents, underwriters and brokers in the UK and in the US.

Against this backdrop, Insurance Times in conjunction with brand consultancy Dave has produced its own attempt at a new identity for Lloyd's. Dave was set up by a breakaway team from Wolff-Olins and has worked on projects for First Direct, TalkTalk, Energis, British Gas and BMW. The Dave team created an identity for Lloyd's after only one two-hour workshop.


Everybody reading this article will know Lloyd's - the heritage, legends, myths and stories that are everyday currency to you.

When Dave was asked to collaborate in this exercise, we knew Lloyd's was synonymous with insurance. Lloyd's is insurance. But to us, more striking was our perception of Lloyd's as a twee British institution with men who wear bowler hats, pinstripe suits and carry umbrellas. Derailing this perception is a big issue for insurance at large, and Lloyd's in particular.

As new entrants continue to encroach on the traditional remit of Lloyd's there is an obvious need for Lloyd's to clearly articulate its proposition.

So what's the job? This is not about designing a new logo - far from it. The value of Lloyd's is currently unclear. Greater clarity is urgently needed. And well-defined brands are often the most powerful way of providing this clarity.

Working with Insurance Times, Dave was invited to spend a morning with market participants. What did we learn? First and foremost that Lloyd's is insurance.

With only a morning to elicit the key information, this is clearly a toe in the water exercise. That said, the heritage, world-renowned expertise and passion for insurance came across in abundance; as did a thirst for trying new pursuits and being the first to push the traditional insurance boundaries.

Also evident was the 'market stall' approach in Lloyd's. Building a global reputation through the individuals it houses and represents is totally unique.

Most interestingly, the responses differed depending on whether the individuals were brokers, managing agents or service providers. Clearly, in the world of insurance, there are many views to accommodate.

What everyone agreed was that Lloyd's is a dynamic risk taker. This is a place full of people who have a pioneering spirit and braveness. It is as true today as in the beginnings of Lloyd's three hundred years ago.

We came away from our meeting with some interesting themes: braveness, pioneering, flexibility and longevity spring to mind. But not one of these words alone was big enough to communicate what Lloyd's stands for.

We spent the next couple of weeks creating a structure and language that Lloyd's could use to speak to all stakeholders - customers, brokers, the media and public. This positioning isn't meant as a fait accompli, but rather, something to get you thinking as to the direction Lloyd's could take.

Lloyd's is unique and resilient having been a leading force for hundreds of years. The brand has to reflect this solidity. The identity has therefore been crafted using several layers, one building on another, to demonstrate the solid foundation.

This approach also lends itself nicely to the fact that Lloyd's is, of course, made up of lots of different market - the syndicates - and each of the layers could represent a syndicate.

The physical structure of Lloyd's also enables fluidity. It is able to change shape, reflecting current trends in the market and the world at large. Why not, therefore, think of Lloyd's as an entity able to adapt to changing needs through flexibility?

As an idea, we propose that at the centre of the Lloyd's brand is the combination of both solidity and flexibility.

Creating a potential identity for Lloyd's is not just about designing a new logo. We see not a revolution, but an evolution from where Lloyd's is today. The visual style does need to reflect the current Lloyd's proposition, but it doesn't need to cast aside the heritage and roots of Lloyd's.

Crucially, there isn't a fixed logo or strapline. Given Lloyd's is made up of lots of different component parts, then the identity needs to reflect it.

We believe Lloyd's needs an identity that reflects the origins, current state, and future possibilities. The design is never fixed, in contrast to most classic brand identities. But the specifics of the identity change ever so slightly each time. It feels alive.

The all-encompassing programme is due for completion within the next three to five years.

It'll be interesting to see how close the two are. Or not.


We asked four insurance specialists who work with the Lloyd's market to choose an important element that defines the Lloyd's brand.

- "Lloyd's has the resilience of a cockroach. It has been up and down, and nearly jailed for gambling" - Elvin Patrick Chairman of Cathedral Underwriting

- "Lloyd's has the flexibility and resilience you don't see in an insurance company" - Robin Oakes Senior partner of Lloyd's specialist accountancy firm Mazars

- "At the end of the day, the heart of Lloyd's is its ability to pay claims" - Nigel Hanbury Chief executive of Hampden Agencies

- "We have a lot of clients who are more comfortable with the composite market rather than Lloyd's. Lloyd's has courted bad publicity for a long time; some commercial clients will pay a premium to be with the composites" - David Pentleton Director of Scottish broker Giles Insurance

Designer for a day ...

What do you think of our suggestions for a new Lloyd's brand?