This is the story of how huge losses very nearly destroyed a revered British institution, Lloyd's of London, the world's largest insurance market; how outraged members challenged a complacent institution; and how it changed to confront and overcome its biggest ever crisis. Ten thousand people faced huge personal bills they thought profoundly unfair. They were trapped; there was no escape. The market that insured disasters had become a disaster for its members. ?The story of Lloyd's is relevant now, raising many contemporary issues: levels of professional competence, trust, negligence, perverse incentives, and responsibilities owed by insiders to outside investors. High rewards contrast sharply with disastrous results. It raises the legitimacy of governing institutions, the right degree and form of self-regulation and the role of government. It illuminates the limits of tolerance, the power of anger, and its limitations. The search for justice shines a light on the workings of the English and US legal systems. Fairness is pitted against commercial expediency. Old attitudes clash with new circumstances. Leadership is critical in building trust and deciding when to compromise. Fresh thinking, new structures and new skills are all needed to find a way to balance the interests of past and future stakeholders. Persuasion has to overcome alternative analysis, misunderstanding, anger and inertia. Engagement of opposing parties proves critical. The issues illustrated by this story arise each day in Britain, the US and elsewhere. On the Brink is a true story of strong characters, changing fortunes, contrasting values, incompetence, real experts, self-help, creative compromise, innovation and change. It is the story of individuals, groups, leaders and the institution, locked in a battle for survival, each slow to see their common interest. To this day, the Lloyd's crisis raises strong emotions among those involved; many myths have grown up. This book tells what really happened, from the inside.A website, www.onthebrink.uk.com,
accompanies this book with extra detail for those interested.