Thursday, May 31, 2007

How are you? A1 at Lloyd’s?

Lloyd’s of London is the oldest continuously active insurance provider in the world but strictly it is a ‘market of members’ rather than an insurance company that writes policies.

The business had its origins in a coffee business, then it developed in providing insurance for ships and more recently it has diversified to cover all sorts of risks including Tina Turner’s legs, Keith Richard’s fingers (I wonder if his policy covered KR falling out of the palm tree in Fiji?) and Celine Dion’s vocal cords.

Associated with the company has been the expression, ‘A1 at Lloyd’s’.

When a ship was inspected for insurance purposes they give it two ratings. Firstly, they examine the hull, deck and equipment and give it a rating—A, if its excellent, B, if its very good, C, if its OK and if it is any less you’d rather not be traveling on it!

The second rating is for all the things you can’t see—radios, electronic navigational equipment and so forth that keep the ship on course. These get 1 for excellent, 2 for very good and so on.

So for a ship that is in first class condition, came the expression, “It’s A1 at Lloyd’s!”

It’s not a bad expression when someone asks how you are, to consider not only your physical features and the ‘cargo’ you are carrying but to reflect on your emotions, your motives and the desires that all contribute to your overall quality and risk.

Geoff Pound

Image: Lloyd’s Building, London at night.