The former Lloyd’s boss recalled the birth of Lloyd’s Lab and how she tried to break down barriers with dress code 

Former Lloyd’s of London chief executive Dame Inga Beale told delegates at last week’s (1 March 2023) Insurtech Insights Europe conference that she had wanted to relax the dress code at Lloyd’s to promote new ideas. 

Speaking during her keynote speech, Beale added that she had wanted Lloyd’s Lab to be situated in the Lloyd’s building to help shake up the market.

“I wanted people to walk in and see something new and different,” she added.

Lloyd’s Lab is an insurtech accelerator and innovation incubator programme launched in 2018 to allow new firms to road test new innovations and ideas.

Traditionally at Lloyd’s, men were required to wear a suit and tie and were not allowed to remove their jackets.

Let’s relax

Beale explained how she had attempted to alter this tradition. She said: “One Thursday night when I knew [the weather] was going to be hot on the Friday I said, ‘let’s relax’.

”We told security that [it was] okay – cover up all the signs about dress code on all the doors in the building and allow no ties or jackets.

“By 9:30 on the Friday I had been instructed by the chairman that I was going to have to stop this immediately as ‘I was letting the hoodies into the building’.

“It’s amazing, you think it’s kind of laughable but when you have got these traditions and these things are so embedded you need disruptors – you need people who are different. We have to keep moving forward.”

Beale added that she was still trying to shake up insurance.

She said: “To me it is really crucial – how do we get insurance sectors to fundamentally embrace what all of you are trying to do – shake things up [and] to make sure what we are delivering for customers is actually what they want.

”The whole way of pricing insurance is to continue to be responsive – I am still passionate about it.”

Beale was chief executive of Lloyd’s between January 2014 and December 2018. Currently, she holds various board positions including as independent non-executive director at both Crawford and Company and Willis Towers Watson.