Lloyd's of London chair John Nelson relaxed on Brexit

The chairman of Lloyd's of London has claimed veterans of the three-centuries-old insurance market view the challenge of Brexit as a 'walk in the park' compared with the crisis the organisation survived three decades ago.

Lloyd's of London chairman John Nelson. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Lloyd's of London chairman John Nelson. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

John Nelson’s comments come before Lloyd’s of London’s impending announcement of its preferred location for an EU subsidiary post‑Brexit.

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“If you go back in history and talk to some of the people who’ve been working here – I’ve only been working here for six years – for 40 years, they’d regard this as probably a bit of a walk in the park compared to a few years ago when Lloyd’s very nearly went bust, when it was almost out of business for reputational reasons,” he said.

Lloyd’s amassed losses of £14 billion between 1988 and 1992 through a mixture of asbestos claims and a series of catastrophes.

The latter included the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster off the coast of Aberdeen, which killed 167 workers on 6 July, 1988. Only a major rescue plan rescued the market, but many hundreds of Names – wealthy individuals who provided capital to Lloyd’s in hopes of returns on their investment under terms of unlimited liability – suffered major losses.

Nelson said that Britain’s pending divorce from the EU was clearly a serious issue, but that Lloyd’s was now in a much stronger position to deal with the related fallout.

He added that a firm decision had yet to be made on the EU domicile of its new subsidiary, but that “there’s still more than one country in the frame”.