Lloyds of London gets its first female chief

THE Lloyd’s of London insurance market has appointed its first ever female chief executive, to replace Richard Ward who announced he was stepping down from the role in July.

Inga Beale, a 30-year industry veteran who was previously head of insurer Canopius, starts in her new role in January next year, Lloyd’s said in a statement yesterday.

“Her CEO experience, underwriting background, international experience and operational skills, together with her knowledge of the Lloyd’s market, make Inga the ideal chief executive for Lloyd’s,” said Lloyd’s chairman John Nelson.

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Ms Beale inherits a 325-year-old institution in the midst of a modernisation drive started by her predecessor.

Mr Ward introduced new technology and launched a push to make Lloyd’s relevant in the rapidly growing economies of Asia and Latin America.

Lloyd’s, a collection of about 80 competing insurance syndicates housed in a landmark building at the heart of London’s financial district, started life in 1688 as a gathering of shipping merchants in a coffee house.

Lloyd’s insurance market posted a decline in headline first-half profit after falling bond prices hit investment returns, offsetting robust trading by its members.

In a trading statement in September, Lloyd’s said that investment returns fell to £247m from £619m in the same period last year, citing “continued challenging economic conditions”.

Listed companies that operate syndicates at Lloyd’s include Catlin, Hiscox and Amlin.