London insurance firm fined £1 million over bullying, sexual harassment

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The interior of Lloyd’s of London, the centuries-old insurance market, is pictured in central London on April 27, 2016.

Leon Neal | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Lloyd’s of London, the U.K. insurance giant, has hit one of its member firms with a record £1.05 million ($1.38 million) fine for misconduct, which included allowing an annual inappropriate “boy’s night out” for a number of years.

Lloyd’s said in a notice of censure, published Wednesday, that its syndicate member firm Atrium Underwriters had accepted three charges of “detrimental conduct.”

One of the charges was for “sanctioning and tolerating over a period of a number of years up until 2018 an annual ‘Boys’ Night Out’ during which some male members of staff, (including two senior executives in leadership roles) engaged in unprofessional and inappropriate conduct.”

This included “initiation games, heavy drinking and making inappropriate and sexualised comments about female colleagues.”

‘No adequate steps were taken’

Lloyd’s CEO John Neal said the firm was “deeply disappointed by the behaviour highlighted by this case, and I want to be clear that discrimination, harassment and bullying have no place at Lloyd’s.”

He said that all Lloyd’s employees should “expect to work in a culture where they feel safe, valued, and respected.”

An independent survey of workers within the “Lloyd’s market,” published in September 2019, found that 8% had witnessed sexual harassment during that past year, but just 45% said they felt comfortable raising their concerns.

The survey was commissioned by Lloyd’s on the back of reports of sexual harassment within the business. It also found that 22% of respondents had seen people in their organization turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior.

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