Irish insurance market important - Lloyds

 

The Irish insurance and re-insurance market still “punches well above its weight” despite the current economic problems, according to the chairman of one of the world’s best-known insurance brands.

Lloyd’s of London, a UK insurance market where underwriters form syndicates to insure risks, officially opened its Dublin office this morning. Although this is its first office in Ireland, Lloyd’s has been operating here for the last 70 years.

“Believe it or not it’s our 12th largest market in the world,” Lloyd’s chairman Lord Peter Levene told The Irish Times.

“Dublin has become a significant financial centre, and even with all the problems … it’s a good market, it’s an important market. So we need to be here.”

Its premium income from Ireland was about €170 million last year, although this is well down on previous years.

Lloyd’s Irish client base includes several household names such as CIE and Ryanair. The purpose of the opening a Dublin office is to make its presence more obvious and to promote the business here.

Although the Lloyd’s market had a “near-death experience” in the late 1980s, (it almost collapsed under the weight of claims on insurance policies) it learnt its lesson, Lord Levene said, adding that this has helped to protect it during the financial crisis.

“When the whole crisis was at its height last September, October, I had the great luxury of being able to wake up every morning and know that the money was still there,” he said. Virtually all of its reserves are held in cash or very highly rate bonds.

“It ended up that boring is beautiful.”