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Lloyd’s Nelson Pursues Overseas Insurers Amid Difficult Market

Lloyd’s of London Chairman John Nelson said he’s in talks with “major insurers overseas” given the “high level of interest” in the world’s oldest insurance market.

“We are attracting serious overseas interest into London,” Nelson said in Davos, Switzerland, citing Aon Corp.’s relocation to the U.K. capital from Chicago and China Reinsurance Group’s investment in a Lloyd’s syndicate. “I will be pursuing those while I am here,” he said of his discussions in Davos, without naming the other parties.

He spoke in an interview with Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Televsion’s “On the Move” on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.

Nelson said the insurance market for 2012 will “remain difficult” after the “particularly” bad end to last year caused by flooding losses in Thailand. Premium rates and investment returns will also remain relatively low, he said.

“Premium rates in those areas which have been most affected are rising, in other areas they’re not,” he said. “Overall, it’s a fairly subdued rise.”

London’s position as a financial center isn’t under “serious threat” if it pursues the “right” policies, such as lowering taxes and easing work-visa requirements for overseas nationals, he said. “The personal tax regime will hold us back,” he said. At the same time, “business has to recognize the reality of life,” Nelson said. “There is serious public disquiet about executive remuneration.”

Nelson, a former banker at Lazard Ltd. and Credit Suisse First Boston, was named chairman of Lloyd’s last year.

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