Changes would allow Lord Levene to serve another term as chairman

Lloyd’s members have overwhelmingly approved the Treasury’s radical proposals to reform the market in the face of heightened global competition.

The raft of changes, part of a Treasury consultation paper released in March, will allow managing agents to deal with any intermediary, or even directly with policyholders.

The proposals were approved by more than 99% of assembled members at an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday.

The reforms will also allow Lord Levene to serve another term as chairman – provided they are pushed through by November.

Levene said: “This is an overwhelming endorsement from our membership in support of the Treasury’s proposals to reform Lloyd’s governance arrangements and improve access to the market.

“We are grateful for the continuing backing of our membership.”

More than half (51.77%) of Lloyd’s members participated in the vote.

The Treasury, which also claims that the use of a Lloyd’s broker adds 5% to the cost of a deal, estimates that removing Lloyd’s brokers’ exclusive access to the market would save up to £200m a year – contributing to a proposed £1.7bn saving in administrative costs over the next decade.

Sources added that the changes could help drive electronic reforms that have previously failed.

But broker sources maintained that any additional costs associated with Lloyd’s brokers were a reflection of added value and expertise. Others said the changes would benefit those companies that were already competitive.

The moves are part of the government’s attempts to boost the efficiency of the UK economy in the face of stern competition from Bermuda, Ireland and the US.

The Treasury has also proposed changes to the workings of the Lloyd’s council, which include the removal of the requirement for the governor of the Bank of England to approve new members.