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Insurance Market Glossary 

New to the insurance market, or just need a refresher? The industry is full of jargon and complex language, find out the meaning of insurance terms here. 

Image by Henry Be



A syndicate is an insurer or group of insurers based in Lloyd's of London who combine to assume risks in a specialist area. An underwriter will evaluate the potential risk to produce the price of the insurance policy, which is then presented to the syndicate. The syndicate can then decide what percentage of the risk they would like to assume.  (This is a term specific to Lloyd's of London.)


Loss adjuster

A party that is hired by the insurer to investigate the claim and evaluate how much the payout should be.


A third-party administrator. They are provided with the authority to handle a claim from an insurer. The TPA will have a specialised area of knowledge for example commercial storage insurance. (This is a term specific to Lloyd's of London.)


​Delegated Claim Authority (Same as TPA).

Managing Agent (MA)

An organisation which manages a Lloyd syndicate. They employ underwriters to determine the risk that the syndicate insures.  (This is a term specific to Lloyd's of London.)


Managing General Agent (MGA)

They have underwriting authority to underwrite risk on behalf of an insurer usually under a binding authority. Same as a coverholder.


Placing package produced by the broker with all the important information such as risk, insurance terms and conditions that which he submits to the underwriter at Lloyd's London or company market carrier. Each carrier takes a percentage of the slip until it is complete.



An insurance carrier is an insurance company which provides insurance coverage. An insurance carrier is responsible for employing insurance agents and underwriters, as well as handling claims and coordinating payments.


A Coverholder is a managing general agent (MGA) that is approved to underwrite risks under binding authority. This allows a managing agent to conduct business globally (unrelated to the Lloyds of London market) through the coverholder who acts in the area of interest.



An insurance broker provides communication between the syndicates or insurer, and the insurance buyer. For the Lloyd's market, an insurance customer will typically contact a local insurance broker or agent, who will then contact a Lloyd's broker to detail the potential risk. The Lloyd's broker will then present this risk to an underwriter who will evaluate the risk. Brokers tend to be specialised and therefore more knowledgable on certain areas of insurance e.g boat insurance. 



A binder, also known as a binding authority agreement or contract of delegation, is a contract for delegated authority supplied to a coverholder by a managing agent. The binder provides general details regarding all the risks that the coverholder has bound on behalf of the carrier. Risks must be bound within the binder period, which is typically one year from the creation of the binder, however, risks bound within the binder period can extend past this period. The binder also sets out the responsibilities of the coverholder, such as issuing insurance documents on the managing agent's behalf, handling premiums and agreeing on claims.



An underwriter (UW) evaluates risks to establish the price of an insurance policy that will be written. The underwriter's main duties in this regard include collecting background information, analysis of statistical data, negotiating terms with the relevant broker, determining the wording of the policy and ultimately determining the policy premium.

Delegated Authority

Delegated authority involves the transfer of underwriting and claims handling to third parties such as coverholders or third-party administrators on behalf of insurers if it is considered to be more practical or cost-effective to do so.



London International Insurance Brokers Association provides a similar function to the LMA, providing representation for Lloyd's insurance and reinsurance brokers working in the London and international insurance markets. LIIBA is formed from a number of separate committees, for example, Marine, Non-Marine and Aviation. The LIIBA Exec Board attempts to act as a voice for all these committees and represents their interests when liaising with stakeholders. 

Loss Run

A report showing all claims, reserves and payments for a contract over a given period.

The Lloyd's Market

Lloyds of London is the oldest insurance company in the world. What makes Lloyd’s unique is that they operate via syndicates that specialise in different areas of insurance. Imagine the syndicates as storeholders whom each take on a different % of the risk. Lloyd's Corporation is a separate identity who is not an insurer itself but act as a regulator. 

The Lloyd's Market Associations (LMA)

The LMA is essentially a union for the market. All Lloyd's managing agencies and members agents are members of the LMA. They act in the best interests of their members in relation to organisations such as governments, regulators and the corporation of Lloyd's itself. They work to identify and resolve issues in the market and work in partnership with Lloyd's and other market associations offering their expertise from policy wording to implementation of new technologies. All 51 managing agents within Lloyd's are members of the LMA, and the LMA has technical support teams in 6 major areas: Underwriting, Claims & Delegated Authority, Market Operations, Legal, Finance & Risk and HR & Academy(See figure 1). 


The London Insurance and Reinsurance Market Association (LIRMA) was initially set up as a trade association specializing in non-marine insurance businesses. Merged with ILU to form the IUA in 1998 (See IUA).



The Institute of London Underwriters was initially set up as the trade association for insurance companies writing marine, aviation and transport. They merged with LIRMA to form the IUA in 1998 (See IUA).


​The International Underwriting Association of London (IUA) was formed as a merging of the London International Insurance and Reinsurance Market Association (LIRMA) and the Institute of London Underwriters (ILU), in 1998 to bring together representative bodies for the marine and non-marine sectors of the London company insurance market. They act as a representative body for the insurance and reinsurance companies acting outside of the Lloyds of London Market. Similar to the LMA and LIIBA, the IUA aims to provide technical support to help modernise the market by reforming outdated processes and updating electronic interfaces


Reinsurance is when several insurance companies share risk by buying policies from other insurers i.e they insure themselves to limit their loss in the case of a disaster. Otherwise, large catastrophes would require large payouts and bankrupting insurers. 


A bordereau is a monthly report (typically an excel spreadsheet) which holds all the details of claims made that month by a TPA on behalf of a carrier/underwriter. The report includes information relating to tax, premiums paid and claims paid. A TPA's loss fund (used to pay out claims) will be reimbursed according to the claims information provided in the bordereaux, therefore it is essential that these reports are completed accurately.


Also known as an insurance buyer, a policyholder is an individual or business that purchases insurance coverage for the protection of an asset or protection against other uncertainties of loss.

Claims adjuster 

A claims adjuster, also known as a loss adjuster, is responsible for the handling of claims. The claims adjuster assesses the insurance company's liability and determines the amount of compensation that should be paid out when a claim is made.

Figure 1: The Lloyd's market

A diagram of the Lloyd's market
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