’This process is a part of healing,’ says senior vice president
Lloyd’s of London has been told that it is “crucial” for it to understand and reflect on its historical role in the slave trade.
Maxine Goddard, senior vice president of strategic distribution and development at Sompo International, said owning and acknowleding its former ties to the slave trade would be key to the healing process to ensure “we can all move forward”.
Goddard’s comments came after Lloyd’s apologised for its role in the slave trade after being named in an academic database revealing companies that had benefitted, either directly or indirectly, from compensation payments upon surrendering rights to slave plantations in 2020.
During a panel discussion at Lloyd’s last week (26 October 2023), Goddard was asked about the importance of the marketplace’s current research into its historical connections to the transatlantic slave trade.
In response, she said it was ”essential to understand your past, your present and your future” and reflected on her past, telling the audience that her great-great grandmother was a slave.
“This is not history – for me, this is my life,” she added.
“We live in a time where we’re talking about reparations – post-George Floyd – and striving for equality.
“So, it’s crucial for Lloyd’s of London to reflect on its history, understand its origins, own it and acknowledge it.
“This process is a part of healing and it’s fantastic that we – as an industry and Lloyd’s – have come together to recognise how important it is to own our past and acknowledge it, so that we can all move forward.”
Goddard was speaking during a session entitled Celebrating trailblazers in the insurance industry - Inspirational Black leaders in insurance, at Lloyd’s Old Library.
The session focused on how speakers in the panel navigated their careers, what obstacles they overcame and what messages of advice they have for black and ethnically diverse people.
Jo Scott, executive sponsor of Lloyd’s Multicultural Awareness Network (MAC), said it would feel ”really disingenuous if we didn’t talk about” the past during Black History month.
“We have a responsibility, above all else, to do better and to do it sooner,” she added.
“In the years ahead, when you walk around, you will see a marketplace that reflects the society that we live in.”
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