Research Handbooks in Financial Law series
Edited by Julian Burling and Kevin Lazarus
Julian Burling and Kevin Lazarus Imagine that it were possible to travel back and forth in time and imagine that one could bring from the past one of the early underwriters who wrote in the Lloyd’s market. Perhaps we could bring to the present someone like John Julius Angerstein (c. 1735– 1823), often called the Father of Lloyd’s.1 How would such an underwriter see things today? Of course, he would be struck by the clothes and the language, the size and the design of the buildings and that there are things such as cars and aircraft, but let us put that to one side. How would he ﬁnd the insurance market as compared to the one he is used to? In many respects he might ﬁnd things surprisingly familiar. Within today’s Lloyd’s market he would recognise underwriters sitting in the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room, at their boxes assessing and committing lines to risks. He would recognise the way in which each underwriter will try to assess the risk of a loss and then set a premium that reﬂects that risk and which, across a book of business, will ensure the underwriter makes a proﬁt. He would also recognise the way in which the underwriter might want to lay off some risk to other underwriters by way of reinsurance (although this is not something he would have done; reinsurance was illegal in England from 1745 to 1846). Our time-travelling underwriter would also be familiar from his own time with the...