Business: Lloyd's Losses

Wrecks, fires and lawsuits

At one end of the cavernous "room," as the main trading hall of Lloyd's of London is called, a clerk still enters (with a quill pen) the names of newly sunk vessels in an upright ledger that, in past years, has held the names of the Titanic and the Lusitania. Above hangs the Lutine bell, salvaged from a Lloyd's-insured British frigate, which tolls to announce a maritime loss or other disaster. That bell should perhaps now be pealing for the venerable insurance institution itself.

In the exchange's 293-year history, the members of the 403 separate risk-taking Lloyd's syndicates have...

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