Lloyd’s has unveiled what it says is a “robust plan of action” to address reports of sexual harassment after several female employees alleged they have been victims of inappropriate conduct.
The plan includes strong sanctions and potential lifetime bans for individuals found guilty of such behaviour.
A confidential channel for whistleblowers and victims to report harassment will also be set up.
CEO John Neal announced the plan yesterday following a damaging Bloomberg Businessweek article last week that described Lloyd’s as a place where a “deep-seated culture of sexual harassment” runs deep.
The article is based on interviews with 18 women executives who described the atmosphere as one of “near-persistent harassment”.
“It has been distressing to hear about the experiences of women in the Lloyd’s market,” Mr Neal said.
“No one should be subjected to this sort of behaviour, and if it does happen, everyone has the right to be heard and for those responsible to be held to account.
“I am pleased that the market has given its full support for a strong set of actions, and I am determined that Lloyd’s offers a safe and inclusive working environment for everyone.”
At the same time, Lloyd’s has pledged to provide a “safe and confidential space” to follow up the accounts of the women who spoke to Bloomberg Businessweek.
One of the women recounted how a senior manager drunkenly attacked her in a pub near the marketplace. She says she was told by her employer that making a complaint about it would compromise her career advancement.
The women, whose identities were withheld, said pursuing legal action was too costly and would affect their work in the industry.
“Unless you have a rich father, you aren’t going to be able to afford suing… and you basically have to decide that you will never work in the industry again,” one female broker was quoted as saying.
Other measures in the Lloyd’s action plan include:
• Undertaking an independent and market-wide culture survey to identify the scale and scope of the issue and to inform further action
• A comprehensive review of policies and practices across the Lloyd’s market, with a view to identifying and sharing best practice
• Provision of training focused on prevention, as well as reporting and supporting those who have been subjected to inappropriate behaviour.
The plan has the backing of the Lloyd’s Board and Council, Lloyd’s Market Association and the London & International Insurance Brokers Association.