Lloyd's of London has a vision for digital technology. Its own ambitious plan to modernise operations called "Blueprint One" and the Lloyd's lab, a £300m digital transformation fund, are testament to its conviction on the necessity of embracing tech.
Yet it has taken the threat of mass infection to force the iconic marketplace to make one of its most radical moves yet.
In response to concerns over Coronavirus, Lloyd's has announced plans to close its underwriting room for 24 hours to test the resilience of their working practices. Risks will be placed electronically in a bid to limit human-to-human contact and the physical underwriting room will be given a "deep clean."
Much of Lloyd's business is still transacted face-to-face within one room. Blueprint One is meant to provide it with the digital infrastructure to allow greater use of technology across its operations. The Coronavirus pandemic may force the acceleration of that development.
Lloyd’s said last week it will encourage electronic placing to limit person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak. Lloyd’s is one of the last bastions of face-to-face trading in the City, with insurance workers touting their files a familiar sight in the streets and pubs of EC3. The market has made a push towards electronic trading but most of its business is still carried out on a one-to-one basis.