London insurance firm fined £1 million
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 “boys’ 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 also charged Atrium because it failed to notify the insurer about the facts relating to the misconduct of one of its members of staff, referred to in the document as “Employee A.”
In addition, the notice stated that Employee A’s conduct was well known with Atrium, “but no adequate steps were taken to deal with it.”
“Employee A’s behaviour included a systematic campaign of bullying against a junior employee over a number of years,” Lloyd’s said;
adding that Atrium failed to protect the junior member of staff once it became aware of the bullying.
Lloyd’s said that Atrium failed to acknowledge or challenge Employee A’s behavior, “motivated in part by the desire of senior managers to protect Atrium from bad publicity.”
The employee who complained about Employee A was also instructed not to speak about Atrium’s investigation into the misconduct or the allegations made.
The notice said that because Atrium had settled these proceedings at the “earliest opportunity,” Lloyd’s Enforcement Board accepted a 30% discount on the fine, which otherwise would have been £1.5 million.
Even so, Lloyd’s said in a separate statement that this was still the largest ever fine imposed in its 336-year history.
In addition to the fine, Atrium agreed to pay Lloyd’s £562,713.50 in costs.
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.