Under my black suit, I’m perspiring. The taxi cab is a bit warm and the five of us passengers are snugged in a little too tight for my liking. The streets are narrow and winding, jostling us back and forth as we make small talk and peer out the windows at the impressive sights of central London. We’re on our way to the Holy Grail of insurance – Lloyd’s of London. It’s here that we’ll plead our case to the world’s most famous underwriters. But dealing with Lloyds is not just about balance sheets and income statements. Refreshingly, relationships matter, and that’s what makes partnering with them so enjoyable.
In all, seven business meetings ensued over the past three days; none more important though than with the main price-setter on our account. He’s a legendary underwriter in a city of risk takers. The right blend of humor, respect, guts, and attentiveness seemed to have made an impression upon him. He revealed a bit more of his insights to us than is customary. I think he really liked us. In an industry built on relationships, that’s a home run.
As business wrapped up, our London host offered a round of bitters to our group. A few blocks from Lloyds ultra-contemporary office structure is a cobbled market street that’s existed since Roman times. It was here at Leadenhall Market, along with a thousand other black suits holding a pint, that my business duties ended.
Sprinkled in between meetings over the past three days has been a bit of freedom - a few hours to wander at will. With my wife, we turned those precious hours into a barrage of classic London adventures: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Harrods, a Thames River cruise, the Tower of London, and to save 50 pence, ducking under the turnstile at the city loos.
Tomorrow morning, a train with us on it leaves London for the countryside. The adventures continue…