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A history of innovation – MiBroker’s first two weeks in the Lab

Thu 16 May 2019

We are two weeks in to the second Lloyd’s Lab cohort and miBroker has the privilege to be the first Canadian team to be accepted to this program. We couldn’t be more proud to be working at Lloyd’s in London. As global leader in reinsurance, specialty insurance, and as the birthplace of modern fire and marine coverage, London represents a such a unique insurance place in the world.

Their long history of transformation, and a reputation as the place that can underwrite anything, is what has drawn us to work with Lloyd’s. We’re continuing to build  our own innovative insurance platform, miCtrl, with on demand business insurance. The Lab is the perfect place to forge new partnerships for the next stage of our platform’s development. Not everyone will be quick to associate the stalwart Lloyd’s of London with innovation, but they should.

The Market is 333 years old. Three Hundred and thirty-three. Let that sink in. How many organizations can claim such a lineage? You simply don’t last that long in any industry without constantly reinventing yourself. They’re at it again with the launch of The Future at Lloyd’s and the Lloyd’s Lab.

The Lloyd's building

Another striking example of innovation is the Lloyd’s building itself; this futuristic looking building was opened in 1986. The ductwork, stairwells and lifts are on the exterior of the building to maximize internal space. The interior floorspace has been designed to be reconfigurable, as needs change.

The Lloyd's underwriting floor

When one walks into the building, they’ll see underwriters and brokers carrying paper and having face to face meetings in an underwriting room that looks as if it could have been transported there from the 1920s. However, if one takes the lift to the fourth floor, a different picture emerges.

The Lloyd's Lab - a modern office space

“This looks like a modern office!” a broker exclaimed to me as we walked past the glass doors into the lab. Bright open work spaces, modern office furniture, and meeting rooms with all the essential technology. The physical space is only part of this innovation story.

Lloyd’s CEO John Neal told us on the first day that “Everyone that works here is at the top of their game.” Two weeks in, and I’ve been able to see that first hand. Everyone from the Lloyd’s staff, to underwriters, to fellow startups in the cohort are the cream of the crop. The underwriters particularly only get to work in the building by being the best at what they do. One might think these naturally detail-oriented people may be ill suited to be mentors to startups, but again Lloyd’s bucks convention.

In the two weeks we’ve been here we’ve met many times with a team of mentors. These busy people make time to discuss our challenges and opportunities. They work in different insurance lines and different syndicates, yet are eager for collaboration. So far no one has shied away from making an introduction, even to competitors. They also see that evolving with the changing world is necessary and are eager to work with us on what some would call crazy ideas.

No one knows what the next three hundred and thirty three years will bring. We’re not the first Lloyd’s Lab cohort, and I’m sure we won’t be the last. With this spirit of innovation and tools like Lloyd’s Lab I am confident making one more prediction based on my first two weeks here. Lloyd’s of London isn’t done reinventing itself.

John McClelland

Founder, MiBroker