All the information, all in one place
Innovation has always been the touchstone that sets Lloyd’s apart, even at the very beginning. It’s why we’re called Lloyd’s.
Edward Lloyd: data provider
Back in the early 1690s, Edward Lloyd, a coffee-house entrepreneur, had a brilliant idea about how to sell more coffee. He would put all the information needed by marine underwriters in the City into a single place. He would put the most relevant and best sources of data literally into their hands. That, he believed, would be so useful it would make his coffee shop the epicentre of insurance in London.
He launched a news sheet, and printed it twice a week from January 1692. The first section was entitled Ships Arrived at, and Departed from several Ports of England, as I have Account of them in London. Part two (in practice, the other side of the page) was called An Account of what English Shipping, and Foreign Ships for England, I hear of in Foreign Ports.
His marketing idea, which we’d now call a ‘data-first strategy’, worked wonders. Underwriters began to congregate at his shop. So he expanded the venture. In 1696 he launched Lloyd’s News, which covered general news about European military and naval action, and news about ship movements – including warships. Later his successor amalgamated the publications into Lloyd’s List, which is still published today.
The data-first approach
Today Lloyd’s insures much more than just ships and cargoes, but it is still essential for underwriters to have all the information they need in on place. Our namesake gathered the shipping news he published from various informed individuals. His original coffee-shop was right by the Customs House, so he no doubt had sources there to provide his ‘accounts’.
Today valuable underwriting data comes from a variety of sources all over the world, such as the Pacific Disaster Center’s DisasterAWARE Enterprise platform and the SEC’s Edgar database of listed company filings. It would be very enormously useful and time-saving to have it all in one place.
Edward Lloyd took advantage of technology, the printing press, to make his innovation work. Printing wasn’t revolutionary tech, but his delivery of data was. Today we can exploit technology in similar ways to give underwriters all the information they need to underwrite risks. The technology itself need not be revolutionary, but like Edward Lloyd’s big innovation, the delivery needs to be perfectly designed for underwriters – preferably by an underwriter.
All the data, all in one place
After 20 years spent underwriting in the London market, I gained a pretty good idea of what would be useful, and how it should work. I’ve built all that into Quotech, the system I created (with some brilliant techies to help) to put all the information underwriters need into one place. It gathers relevant data from hundreds of sources world-wide. It includes sources paid-for, like DisasterAWARE and RapidRatings, and open-source repositories like Edgar and the UK’s Companies House, as well as proprietary databases like the Quotech Securities Class Actions Database. Most importantly, it compiles all this knowledge on a user-friendly web-based platform. It can even feed the data into your existing underwriting system.
But Quotech does much more. In my next blog, I will delve into the achievements of another great Lloyd’s innovator from our rich history, and explain how Quotech maintains their innovative tradition, to ensure you stay at the epicentre of insurance success. Click here to be sure you receive it.