Considering that insurance has thrived in this City for well over three hundred years, it is perhaps surprising that the industry had not spawned a Livery Company centuries ago. In fact, the Insurers’ Company set something of a record in moving from incorporation as a Guild Company to the achievement of Livery status within the space of three months, the formal letters patent being granted on 18 September 1979 and presented by the Lord Mayor, Sir Kenneth Cork, on 19 October 1979 to create the Worshipful Company of Insurers.
The Company was formed following an initiative by Sir Kenneth Cork who, during his year as Aldermanic Sheriff, came to recognise the desirability of the important financial services to the City being represented by Livery Companies able to play a full part in the governance and development of the City.
Several other Livery Companies were formed in partial response to this initiative including the Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Accountants and the Actuaries. However, the Master Insurer is no longer a lone figure at the end of the ceremonial line as sixteen other Companies have been formed in the intervening years including the Arbitrators, the Information Technologists, the World Traders, the International Bankers, the Tax Advisers, and most recently the Security Professionals at number 108. Others are in the course of formation.
Membership of the Company is restricted to those eligible for membership of the Chartered Insurance Institute and is thus limited to those engaged in the widest sense in the business of insurance. From the outset it was the aim of the Company to develop a broad and balanced membership from the different sectors of the industry, to seek to attract the industry’s leaders into membership and, in more recent years, to try to achieve a reasonable age spread of members.Whilst the current number of our Liverymen is close to its limit of 400, we are able to accommodate a good flow of new Freemen and there is wide representation from our different industry sectors: insurers, both life and non-life, Lloyd’s underwriters and brokers, loss adjusters, lawyers and consultants etc. We are particularly keen to maintain an active insurance carrier membership, despite the consolidation in the industry, as we believe this to be important in fulfilling our stated purpose of fostering the business of insurance.
It is our firm belief that it behoves a Livery Company closely associated with one of the City’s major financial service industries to play a proper part in the life of the City Civic. This involves offering active support to the Lord Mayor in his efforts to promote the interests of the City abroad and to taking a close interest in the City’s governance through the Court of Aldermen and the Court of Common Council. These two bodies which oversee the vital work of the City of London Corporation, our local authority, carry the enormous responsibility of ensuring the continuing success of the City as a leading global financial and business centre, from which the UK economy derives enormous benefit - not least in the 95% or so of business rates which are redistributed to other local authorities. This unique and ancient structure also has the distinction of operating as a non party political organisation and deserves our attention if we are to advance the important interests of our industry.
The Livery seeks to promote standards of honourable practice and ethical behaviour and has, for a number of years, been engaged in work which led to the incorporation of ethics into the syllabus of the CII and resulted in the publication of a set of Guiding Principles for ethical behaviour in the conduct of our business.
Allied to these serious purposes, the Livery also seeks to provide opportunities for our industry’s executives to enjoy good fellowship and exchange ideas and information in the furtherance of their own business and thereby that of the City of London as an insurance marketplace, in accordance with time-honoured tradition and practice.