Lloyd’s of London Commits £40 Million to Regions Affected by Transatlantic Slave Trade
Lloyd’s of London, the renowned commercial insurance market, has announced plans to invest £40 million ($49.6 million) in regions impacted by the transatlantic slave trade. The decision comes after a recent report revealed strong historical ties between the institution and the trade. In addition, Lloyd’s will allocate approximately £12 million towards initiatives aimed at enhancing recruitment and career development opportunities for Black and other ethnic minority employees within the commercial insurance market.
The research, conducted by Black Beyond Data, a project affiliated with Johns Hopkins University and funded by the Mellon Foundation, highlighted Lloyd’s participation in a network of financial interests that facilitated the slave trade. Lloyd’s has expressed that it had no editorial control over the findings of the study.
Lloyd’s, which is 335 years old, publicly apologized in 2020 for its involvement in the slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. Bruce Carnegie-Brown, Chairman of Lloyd’s, expressed remorse and stated, “We’ve asked ourselves how we could have the greatest impact. We can’t change the wrongs of the past, but we can make a difference today.”
To address the issue at hand, Lloyd’s Central Fund will invest $25 million in a bond managed by the African Development Bank and an additional $25 million in a bond administered by the Inter-American Development Bank. These investments will contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of “reduced inequality.”
Furthermore, Lloyd’s aims to increase diversity within its workforce by setting a target of one in three new hires coming from ethnic minorities. Currently, only 17% of the institution’s new hires in 2022 were from ethnic minority backgrounds. The Lloyd’s market comprises nearly 50,000 individuals.
Historians estimate that between one and two-thirds of the British marine insurance market during the 18th century was connected to the slave trade. Alexandre White, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, who was part of the Black Beyond Data team, explained that they examined Lloyd’s archive materials, including ledgers documenting insurance policies for ships involved in the trade. White emphasized that Lloyd’s played a central role in underwriting marine insurance related to the slave trade. Furthermore, the research revealed that Joseph Marryat, a former chairman of Lloyd’s from 1811 to 1824, had enslaved people.
Lloyd’s efforts to address its historical connection to the slave trade follow similar actions taken by other institutions. Earlier this year, the Church of England committed £100 million to confront its own historical involvement in slavery. The United Nations has also encouraged countries to consider financial reparations as a means of compensating for the enslavement of people of African descent.
Lloyd’s initiative to invest in affected regions and improve diversity within the commercial insurance market signifies a step towards acknowledging and rectifying the historical injustices associated with the transatlantic slave trade. Through these measures, the institution aims to make a meaningful impact in contemporary society and contribute to the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice.
More detail via Reuters here… ( Image via Reuters )