Lloyd's association seeks say in elections

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The Independent Online
The Association of Lloyd's Members, representing more than 8,000 underwriting members of the strife-torn insurance community, wants to vet some of the candidates seeking election to the market's ruling council.

Neil Shaw, the newly elected chairman of the ALM, said last week: 'The association has a responsibility to see that external members who go forward for election to the council are suitable. I would love the ALM to recommend say five people who are suitably qualified candidates. If poor people are elected to the council, the names (the members) can only blame themselves.'

The association would only seek to influence the election of external members - who currently hold eight of the 28 places - and not the working members. The external members provide capital but do not work in the market.

This week, Lloyd's will announce transitional arrangements to bring in the reforms proposed by Sir Jeremy Morse for improving the government of the market. Sir Jeremy, a member of the ruling council, recommended that it be reduced from 28 to 14, leaving the external members with four places.

Much of the work of the council would be delegated to two boards - one responsible for running the business, the other for regulation of the market.

The office of chairman of Lloyd's, currently an unpaid position, is to be a salaried appointment from next year. Mr Shaw said: 'The chairman is going to be paid pounds 400,000 to pounds 500,000. If he doesn't produce, the Association of Lloyd's Members had better be strong and be able to walk in and say: 'You are just not doing the job.' '

Mr Shaw does not believe the chairman of the ALM should be on the council. His predecessor, Mark Farrer, a leading lawyer, was on the council while he was chairman and came under fire during last week's extraordinary general meeting, at which members protested about pounds 2bn worth of losses. 'The ALM should operate at an arm's length with the council,' said Mr Shaw.

Over the next month, members are voting by post in a ballot on five resolutions. A key motion expressing confidence in the council is sponsored by the ALM, and this has dismayed many of the association's members.

But Mr Shaw has insisted that the indication of confidence was conditional on the council accepting a sweeping reform programme.

(Photograph omitted)