Lloyd's prepares to go digital with Munich Re

(Bloomberg) -- Lloyd’s of London, the insurance market founded three centuries ago, will write its first business electronically next year.

Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, will begin writing policies through an online-only syndicate on Jan. 1, according to emailed statements from both companies. While bundles of paper continue to dominate daily business at Lloyd’s, the new syndicate will not have any space on the floor at the market’s Lime Street headquarters.

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A visitor enters the Lloyd's of London Ltd. building in London. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The online insurer -- dubbed a “syndicate in a box” -- is the most eye-catching of six proposals to overhaul the market unveiled by Lloyd’s Chief Executive Officer John Neal at an event in London on Monday. Neal, who took the top job almost a year ago, plans to halve the cost of insuring risks at the world’s biggest market over the next five years.

“There was a sense that Lloyd’s had lost its mantle as the innovator for insurance,” Neal said in a telephone interview. “We wanted to recapture it” and “take the cost of doing business at Lloyd’s down significantly.”

The new Munich Re syndicate will focus on insurance for emerging risks and extreme weather events, the company said in its statement.

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