Lloyd's of London apologises for role in slave trade

A sweeping global reassessment of history and racism triggered by the death of George Floyd is forcing major brands and companies to reflect on their own pasts.

On Thursday (June 18) the Lloyd's of London insurance market apologised for its role in the Atlantic slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries.

It said it was "sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the slave trade - an appalling and shameful period of English history".

The company added that recent events have "shone a spotlight on the inequality that black people have experienced" and "unleashed difficult conversations that were long overdue."

About 17 million African men, women and children were torn from their homes between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Many died in merciless conditions.

Lloyd's of London - which is now the world's leading commercial insurance market - started life in 1688.

It grew to dominate the shipping insurance market, a key element in Europe's scramble for empire, treasure and slaves.

Slaves in the 18th Century were included in insurance policies in the general rate for ship cargo.

In the biggest deportation in known history, weapons and gunpowder from Europe were swapped for millions of African slaves.

They were then shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas.

Those who survived endured brutal lives on sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations.

Lloyd's of London now agrees and underwrites complex insurance contracts ranging from catastrophe to events cancellation.

It's has vowed to fund charities and organisations promoting opportunities for black and ethnic minority groups.