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On 18 April 1906, a major earthquake and resulting fires destroyed more than 80 per cent of the Californian city of San Francisco.
This report advocated the widening of membership to non-market participants, including non-British subjects and women, and to reduction of the onerous capitalisation requirements (thus creating a minor investor known as a "mini-Name").
Second, by the end of the decade, almost all of the market agreements, such as the Joint Hull Agreement, which were effectively cartels mandating minimum terms, had been abandoned under pressure of competition.
Third, new specialised policies had arisen which had the effect of concentrating risk: these included "run-off" policies, under which the liability of previous underwriting years would be transferred to the current year, and "time and distance" policies, whereby reserves would be used to buy a guarantee of future income.
The report also drew attention to the danger of conflicts of interest.
The liability of the individual Names was unlimited.
Historian Eric Williams notes: "Lloyd's, like other insurance companies, insured slaves and slave ships, and was vitally interested in legal decisions as to what constituted 'natural death' and 'perils of the sea'." Just after Christmas 1691, the small club of marine insurance underwriters relocated to Lombard Street; a blue plaque on the site commemorates this.
This arrangement carried on until 1774, long after Lloyd's death in 1713, when the participating members of the insurance arrangement formed a committee and moved to the Royal Exchange in Cornhill as The Society of Lloyd's. The building was rebuilt by 1844, but many of Lloyd's early records were lost.The prompt and full payment of all claims arising out of the disaster helped to cement Lloyd's reputation for reliable claims payment and as an important trading partner for US brokers and policyholders.It was estimated that around 90 per cent of the damage to the city was caused by the resultant fires.Lloyd's income counted as earned income, even for Names who did not work at Lloyd's, and this heavily influenced the direction of underwriting: in short, it was desirable for syndicates to make a (small) underwriting loss but a (larger) investment gain.The investment gain was typically achieved by "bond washing" or "gilt stripping": selling the gilt or other bond cum dividend and buying it back ex dividend, thus forfeiting the interest income in exchange for a tax-free capital gain.The business underwritten at Lloyd's is predominantly general insurance and reinsurance, although a small number of syndicates write term life assurance.