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Lloyd's of London: More Than I Ever Wanted to Know about Insurance

On my England 2012 trip, I ended up in Lloyd's of London with four kids. 

As anyone with any experience with children can probably guess, there was a fair bit of whining and multiple rounds of "When are we leaving?" (In their defense, we were getting ready to leave for our private tour of Stonehenge, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.)

They were also more interested in riding the elevators than learning about insurance or trade risks. I can't blame them, as those elevators were pretty darn cool. 

Lloyd's of London

So, what possessed the family I was traveling with to put Lloyd's of London on our tour circuit?

The parents, who've invested in different companies within Lloyd's of London, wanted the kids to see how insurance and risk work. While most of the discussion went way, way over the kids' (and my) heads, I learned a few fun things about the interworkings of Lloyd's:

1) They will insure things that no one else in the world will. When you hear about some pop star insuring her butt, that's the doings of Lloyd's. (Thanks, I guess?)

2) Going with the theme of #1, Lloyd's will actually sell you terrorism insurance. I thought this was the weirdest thing--who wants to work wherever you've got insurance against bombings and other awful things?!?!--until I got home and told my parents. My mom nonchalantly said, "Oh yeah, my company has that. We're considered a semi-high risk for a terrorist target, so the company's covered under our terrorist insurance." My mom is an accountant for a steel company. Agh!!

3) The last time I saw that many stressed out looking people running around was during my last Black Friday shopping experience (back before the stores just stayed open on Thanksgiving). Apparently, the burn out rate at Lloyd's is crazy high because it's super, super stressful on the trading floor. I've never been to the stock market, but I imagine that wide eyed, mildly sweaty forehead, disheveled tie and blouse look is en vogue there, too. 

4) Lloyd's isn't just one company. The name "Lloyd's of London" basically is the name of the building or the concept of buying and selling risk shares. Lloyd's has a bunch of smaller insurance companies that rent space within the larger building.

The kids I taught on the floor of Lloyd's. "Ms. Natalie, can we please go now?" is what they're really thinking!
Being on the trading floor made me stressed out as I just watched all of the traders run around. I might not live in a mansion or be able to buy whatever I want, but if it means that I get to avoid looking like I'm 50 when I'm 25 and chain smoking on all of my work breaks, I'm okay with where I am. That's a LIFE LESSON right there, folks.

It was interesting to peek into a building that makes millions and millions of dollars a day (and sometimes loses that much, too). Perhaps I should have called this blog post "Lloyds of London: How Rich People Get Richer" because that's really what's going on here. 

Does insurance interest you? Would you take a tour of Lloyd's or the stock market if you had the opportunity?

I leave for Disney ON FRIDAY!!