Insurance leaders combine to raise money for planned Insurance Museum in EC3
By James Brewer
Leading insurance, broking and financial interests have put their weight behind a fund-raising launch for a planned Insurance Museum in the City of London.
They are initially seeking to raise a minimum £3m a year to enable the museum to open its first phase in 2021.
Marine insurance, which emerged on a substantial scale in the 17th century out of dealings at Edward Lloyd’s coffee shop, is certain to be celebrated as a pivotal point of the global industry story. Lloyd’s began to dominate shipping insurance in the 1730s, although it today faces stiff competition in this and other fields from providers in many jurisdictions.
Supporters of what is being dubbed the Insurance Museum Initiative (IM IN), are keen to open a “world-class visitor centre in the City of London, together with digital tools, a documentary series and educational outreach to engage the next generation of insurance professionals.”
They want to “ open the door on the world of insurance and reinsurance and share its incredible story inclusively for all audiences.”
Aim is to “create a world-class visitor centre in the heart of the City of London, in EC3..” It would be free to enter.
IM IN also plans what is called the Virtual IM, including an archive, documentary series and apps to support nationwide education activities.
A feasibility study is said to have gathered overwhelming support from across the market, including executives, graduates, market associations, the Corporation of Lloyd’s, and the City of London Corporation, and attracted high profile sponsors.
The fundraising campaign is now seeking from insurers, brokers and service providers pledges to finance the initiative and bring the ambitions behind IM IN to reality.
The campaign is open for pledges until December 7, 2020, with donations receivable by April 2021.
The Initiative is chaired by Reg Brown, a former president of the Chartered Insurance Institute and veteran of many other market institutions.
He admitted that one aspect of the project would be to improve the image of the industry which has been tarnished in some quarters in 2020 by disputes over business interruption claims.
In a fundraising letter, Mr Brown wrote: “The recent negative press coverage of controversial insurance claims payments or denials during the Covid-19 pandemic further highlights the value that the Museum can deliver. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the whole insurance community to come together, to curate and share the positive story of insurance’s impact on global resilience, for all to enjoy and derive educational benefit from. The Museum will help to bridge awareness gaps and, in part, help to restore the public’s confidence in insurance, as well as inclusively attracting and inspiring future generations to join this wonderful and little-understood sector.”
Mr Brown said that just over two years ago he was asked by Sian Fisher, chief executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute, to form a small group of expert members to advise the CII on what it should do with the heritage items left behind after the CII’s move to Lombard Street. “Much progress has been made since then. The first thing we did, greatly assisted by Jonathan Squirrell from OB Brand Consulting, was to consult far and wide about whether it might be feasible to open an Insurance Museum in EC3 modelled on the Bank of England Museum… We were amazed by how much support there existed for the idea.”
Supporters of the project include the Chartered Insurance Institute (which has 125,000 members), Lloyd’s Market Association, the International Underwriting Association, the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce (Airmic), British Insurance Law Association, London and International Insurance Brokers Association, City of London, the Worshipful Company of Insurers, Guernsey International Insurance Association, Association of British Insurers, Three Rooms Club, Insurance & Reinsurance Legacy Association, Lloyd’s, Managing General Agents Association, Forum of Insurance Lawyers, British Insurance Brokers Association, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters.
Mr Brown said: “The Insurance Museum is an initiative that we should all support – especially now, at a time when career opportunities for younger generations are of utmost importance for society. The impact of Covid-19 on the 16-25 year old age group is not something that we will get over quickly. Providing education and awareness of career opportunities is now more important than ever.”
Mr Brown said: “Before the emergence of Covid-19 we inspected a number of possible sites, and have not been idle during the lockdown. We now know that suitable sites are available and suspect that more will become available as we return to some kind of ‘normality’ and some businesses decide they need less City office space than hitherto.”
According to the ABI’s ‘Key Facts’ for 2018, total premium income in the UK was $337bn and at recent conversion rates of £1 = $1.24, the annual fundraising target of £3m, equates to 0.00114% of total premium income – “demonstrating that this is a very affordable proposition and not a big ask of our global and profitable market,” said Mr Brown.
Insurance Museum project manager Mr Squirrell said: “IM IN is a drive to promote the inclusivity, diversity and flexibility of our industry through a physical museum and a range of innovative virtual activities that bridge the knowledge gap about insurance and connect with new audiences.
“The devastating impact of the global pandemic crisis will cast a long shadow over our society. As we hope to return to a degree of normality, we feel now is the time to progress fundraising for the initiative with a view to opening the doors of a physical museum next year, accompanied by a vibrant and engaging range of virtual educational outreach activities.”
For further information, please see www.insurancemuseum.uk/