Lloyd’s apologises for ‘shameful’ slavery links

Lloyd’s of London has issued a public apology in regards to its past links to structural racism and slavery.

The insurance market, which was founded in 1686, had once insured slavery ships in the 18th and 19th Century. It has now apologised for the “shameful” role that it played, and has now pledged to support black and ethnic minority groups. 

In a statement, Lloyd’s said: “Recent events have shone a spotlight on the inequality that black people have experienced over many years as a result of systematic and structural racism that has existed in many aspects of society and unleashed difficult conversations that were long overdue.

“At Lloyd’s we understand that we cannot always be proud of our past. In particular, we are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the eighteenth and nineteenth Century slave trade – an appalling and shameful period of English history, as well as our own.” 

It added: “In acknowledging our own history, we also remain committed to focusing on the actions we can take today to shape our future into one that we can truly be proud to stand by.

“Over the last week we have listened carefully to our Black and Ethnic Minority colleagues in the Lloyd’s market. We have heard their frustrations, and it is clear that we must commit now as a market to take meaningful and measurable action.”

Following its statement, Lloyd’s has now announced a “number of initiatives” that it will implement to support black and ethnic minority talent in its market. 

Firstly, it will invest in positive programmes to attract, retain and develop black and ethnic minority talent, including the launch of its ‘Accelerate’ Programme, a modular programme to develop ethnic minority future leaders across the market.

It will also review its employee and partner policies, as well as its organisational artefacts, to “ensure that they are explicitly non-racist”.

Lloyd’s will now “commit” to education and research, educating colleagues and researching into the experiences of black and ethnic minority professionals working in insurance, and share what it learns with the wider market.

In addition, it will provide financial support to charities and organisations promoting opportunity and inclusion for black and ethnic minority groups.

Finally, the market will develop a long-term action plan in collaboration with its Culture Advisory Group, black and minority ethnic colleagues and white allies who will “inform our journey and hold us to account”.

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