Lloyd’s of London to shut underwriting floors in coronavirus stress test

Lloyd’s of London will shut its underwriting floors for the first time in its history on Friday as a test of the 333-year-old insurance market’s coronavirus contingency plans.

The group said it will close four floors of its 12-floor Lime Street building in London – used by thousands of brokers and underwriters each day – from midnight-to-midnight to test its emergency trading protocols.

It will also take the opportunity to deep-clean the so-called underwriting room and all public areas in the Lloyd’s building.

Lloyd’s stressed the market would remain open as usual throughout the test, with the group instead putting into place emergency electronic trading measures.

Trading and negotiating which would normally take place on a face-to-face basis can be done by email, it added.

The group’s underwriting room is used by around 45,000 employees in the Lloyd’s of London market, with several thousand using it on any given day.

Lloyds said it was “ramping up business continuity preparations and reassurance for the market, employees and customers in the event of an escalation of contingency measures due to Covid-19”.

In a message to customers, it added: “The Lloyd’s market is committed to being there when our policyholders need us the most.

“That means paying all valid claims as quickly as possible.

“Lloyd’s has set up a dedicated contact point to provide our policyholders with assistance and to help them find the right person to confirm cover or process a claim.”

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