January 2015

Spotlight – In international business, almost every market around the world does things in a different way. This often leads to misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. However, different does not need to mean difficult and knowledge of the needs and characteristics of specific geographic markets is an advantage to those who are active in the global economy. These articles help you understand different aspects of the insurance industry around the world, enabling those who do business there to feel more “at home, abroad.”

In furtherance of our tradition of nominating a WORDSTM Personality of the Year, we have looked at many leading figures who have made a difference during the past twelve months and the list is long. There are many gifted, innovative and successful professionals whose names are familiar to most people in our industry. Last year we deviated from a single personality to nominate an organisation for this accolade and this year and this year we have reverted to an individual – but with a difference.

Before unveiling the name of this special person (and I guess some of you will already scroll down the page…), we need to set the scene slightly and talk about one of the most prestigious insurance and reinsurance markets in the world. Lloyd’s is not unique because there are other marketplaces such as the VNAB in the Netherlands to name just one. What does make Lloyd’s unique is the mystique which surrounds its reputation and the difficulty – in the eyes of many – in understanding and accessing the keys to getting in. Lloyd’s is a market where business is placed by brokers. How many brokers there are around the world is a matter of guesswork but, at the time of writing, there are only 217 brokers who are accredited to do business at Lloyd’s. Until fairly recently, nearly all such brokers were based in the United Kingdom and many of them are wholesale brokers operating on behalf of brokers overseas. Recognising the fact that the market needs more dynamism than ever more, brokers outside the UK are being told that there are no obstacles to them becoming accredited. Although this is not really new, only a few brokers from outside the UK place business at Lloyd’s – it has been very difficult for such candidates to navigate themselves through the system.

Our WORDSTM Personality of the Year has figured this out. He is not the first to do so, but what is special is the clarity of purpose, attention to detail, ability to cut through red-tape and the skill in explaining to the client overseas how the process works, what stage has been arrived at, what needs to be done next and then following it all up quickly and within budget. Martin Cantor of Cantor Atkin (http://www.cantoratkin.co.uk/) has taken the frustrations out of the backroom and provided access to the Underwriting Room successfully on numerous occasions and that is why he is the WORDSTM Personality of the Year 2014.