Lloyd's is taking a measured approach to expanding into emerging markets and will not "chase business", the Corporation's CEO Richard Ward told The Insurance Insider.
Developing-market penetration is a well-discussed theme at this year's Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous, with delegates deliberating the pros and cons of entering new markets at a time when the industry is struggling to find growth in its established regions.
Lloyd's laid out a long-term plan in May to grow its share of international business, called Vision 2025. Currently, the market is heavily skewed towards North America, with 41 percent of its £23bn in revenues for 2011 coming from North America and a further 34 percent coming from Europe.
The Corporation won a licence in 2011 to write direct insurance in China through its local platform Lloyd's Insurance Company (China) Limited and signed its first policy in September last year.
However, Ward said the evolution was a gradual process as the market was wary of writing underpriced risks.
"If we just start chasing business then... we'll be out of business. However, over a reasonable timeframe... if we do not capture some of those risks written in the greater emerging economy then that's not going to be a great success story for Lloyd's," Ward explained.
In terms of market regeneration, the CEO said the current soft market with low yields and "little fat" is making it increasingly difficult for hopeful new entrants to Lloyd's.
"It's more difficult to come to us with a business plan that's going to make money," Ward said.
However, he noted that Scor, Chubb and WR Berkley had recently set up syndicates and that external players were buying their way into Lloyd's through acquisition - such as with the ANV takeover of Flagstone's platform.
There is no minimum size requirement to enter Lloyd's. However, the smaller syndicates have been struggling with the costs of being part of the Corporation, it is understood.
But Ward argued that start-ups outside of Lloyd's would need to increase in size in order to support the cost base, while those within Lloyd's benefit from lower capital requirements due to the mutuality of the Central Fund.
"If you want to start a new business - the place to do it is Lloyd's," Ward said, adding that the number of syndicates has grown from roughly 50 to 87 during his six-year tenure.