Our latest industry leader guest contributor is Lloyd's Regional Director & President, Americas, Hank Watkins. Hank outlines how his team promotes and represents the interests of the world’s oldest and largest insurance marketplace and affirms that Lloyd's commitment to the US and Canadian market is as strong as ever.
As we move into the second month of working in ways many of us in the insurance industry had not previously considered other than on the Friday before holiday weekends, my colleagues and I hope all of our stakeholders in the US and Canada are staying healthy and connected to the people who matter most in their personal and business lives.
As Lloyd’s representatives in the US and Canada, my team appreciates the opportunity provided by our partners at Miller to affirm the market’s commitment to its largest market, home to many of the complex and unique risks Lloyd’s has been providing risk transfer solutions for since the early days of the 20th century. We’re proud to promote and represent the interests of the world’s oldest and largest insurance marketplace, now more than ever as we move quickly together from transacting business in traditional ways in London to systems more reflective of the innovative approach to underwriting Lloyd’s is known for.
Although the Underwriting Room at Lloyd’s, a bucket list visit for thousands of insurance professionals and their clients over the years, has been closed to the public since March 19, the brokers and underwriters who bring it to life each morning have transitioned from ‘face to face’ to electronic trading. Utilization of Placing Platform Limited (PPL), the London market’s digital transaction solution for brokers and underwriters, increased significantly during the April 1 renewal period and we expect that trend to continue as people return to EC3 and the Lloyd’s building at some point, we hope in the not-too-distant future. The transition has been supported by emergency trading protocols established by Lloyd’s in preparation of our own business continuity plans.
Many readers will be aware of Lloyd’s strong financial position and seen confirmation of this from CEO John Neal when 2019 annual results were released on March 26. Despite turbulence in financial markets, Lloyd’s solvency ratio on March 19 was 205% and the market’s balance sheet was further bolstered by a return to profitability following two years of catastrophe-driven losses. While our journey to achieving sustainable underwriting profit continues, our focus in the coming weeks and months will be on supporting our customers and business partners as we work together in response to the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19.
And, as the brokers and underwriters at the heart of our market strive to maintain continuity in their client relationships, my colleagues at Lloyd’s remain committed to creating the world’s most advanced insurance marketplace through the Future at Lloyd’s. We’ve sharpened the focus for the balance of 2020, prioritizing initiatives that will ensure that digital support for Lloyd’s business is continually improved, claims processing improvements are fast-tracked and build-out of the technology infrastructure needed to support our future ecosystem remains on target.
I’ll close with a heartfelt thank you for the opportunity to support your success. The Lloyd’s America team looks forward to re-connecting with you in person and in the meantime wishes you, your families, colleagues and clients the very best as we make our way to healthier times.