Pressure is on Lloyd's to replace Lord Levene with someone with experience of the Lloyd's market when Levene retires as chairman.

Insurance Times has learned that plans are underway to prepare for Levene's eventual departure. Calls have been made for the list of candidates to be made up from inside the insurance market. One senior Lloyd's insider said: "Lloyd's has done enough to redeem itself in financial services that it would be more acceptable, in the true tradition of Lloyd's, to elect someone from the market."

Several market figures have been touted as possible successors to Levene with Aon chief executive Dennis Mahoney suggested as well as David Mann, chairman of Hardy Underwriting."It doesn't matter whether it is an underwriter or a broker, it should be someone who has been on the shop floor," a Lloyd's source said.

Speculation is mounting about when Levene will step down as chairman. According to a source close to Lloyd's, Levene, who was elected in November 2002, will ask to extend his current term beyond 2008. But replacing Levene would, according to senior insurance recruitment consultant, be a massive task for the corporation. Barbara Schönhofer, managing director of international search firm EJS Partner, said: "You have got to think very carefully about changing a team around. The timing is critical.

"You also have to think very carefully about where you get that replacement from, about what you want and about what Richard Ward and his team want to achieve."