`The evolution of the Lloyd's dinosaur has begun. After 314 years it is finally lumbering towards the future'

The cycle was beginning to turn, even before the World Trade Centre disaster. Rates were starting to rise comfortably, brokers and underwriters were anticipating finally making a profit and the future looked rosy.

But the tragic events of 11 September catapulted the insurance industry into one of the hardest markets in history. And it also resulted in the growth of numerous reinsurance companies, particularly in Bermuda.

So Lloyd's has been increasingly forced to address the threat of its global competitors. It has had to map out new areas of growth outside London, and has decided to focus on expansion in Europe, China and Asia Pacific (page 27).

In the past year, Lloyd's has also identified new ways of attracting business. Brokers around the world can access the market through accreditation, service companies and underwriting agencies (page 9). Lloyd's has also spent millions of pounds embracing modern technology and creating an online introductory website, lloyds.com (page 33).

And Sax Riley is attempting to secure a place in the history books before he steps down as chairman at the end of the year (page 7). He has suggested radical reforms to the structure of the market with the help of his strategy group (CSG) and management consultancy Bain & Co (page 12). If the proposals are approved, Lloyd's will see numerous changes, including the end of its traditional accounting procedures and unlimited liability Names investors.

Keeping abreast of such a rapidly modernising market is a challenge. That's why this supplement lists up-to-date details of all the syndicates, brokers, managing agencies and service companies operating in Lloyd's, along with an outline of the classes of business they cover.

The evolution of the Lloyd's dinosaur has begun. After 314 years it is finally lumbering towards the future. Only change in the next year will help save it from extinction.

Yvette Essen

Senior London Market reporter