Both insurance companies have links to individuals compensated upon surrendering rights to slave plantations
Lloyd’s and RSA have apologised for their role in the slave trade after they were named in an academic database revealing companies that had benefitted, either directly or indirectly, from compensation payments upon surrendering rights to slave plantations.
Reports in the Telegraph revealed that one founder subscriber and one former chairman of Lloyd’s are listed as claimants or beneficiaries in the UCL database, while four others are listed as having links to estates.
This includes founder subscriber Simon Fraser, who was the former owner of the Castle Bruce estate in Dominica, which was handed compensation equivalent to £397,451 in today’s money.
The Lloyd’s market was also historically involved in insuring slave ships.
In a statement, Lloyd’s said: “There are some aspects of our history that we are not proud of. In particular, we are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the eighteenth and nineteenth century slave trade.
“This was an appalling and shameful period of English history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred during this period.”
The insurer said it would “provide financial support to charities and organisations promoting opportunity and inclusion for black and minority ehtnic groups” and that it would also review its “organisational artefacts, to ensure that they are explicitly non-racist”.
It has also launched a number of new initiatives aimed at developing black and minority ethnic talent within the organisation.
“In recent years Lloyd’s has driven ahead with a series of positive programmes designed to improve culture across the market,” a spokesman said. “We have made progress, but not enough.”
RSA, meanwhile, had five associated companies revealed as having links to claimants or beneficiaries in the UCL database, including five company directors and a governor of London Assurance, which was eventually merged into RSA in 2008.
A spokesman for the insurer said: ”RSA’s origins in insurance date back well over 300 years, with many parts of our business founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. While this has brought positive things that have shaped us, there are aspects of that history that don’t reflect the values we hold today.
”We are proud to be an increasingly diverse company that is committed to doing all we can to create a present and future in which people of all backgrounds can thrive, and we will continue to work with our employees to tackle racism and other injustices wherever we encounter them through our actions.”