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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/125
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1884-1973
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 603 production units.
Name of creator(s): Institute of London Underwriters


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Institute of London Underwriters (ILU) was established in 1884 as the trade association for insurance companies transacting marine, aviation, and transport business in the London market. Although comparable in some respects to other representative market bodies, it differed from many of these in that it was concerned with the day-to-day business of the market as well as matters of policy. The governing body of the Institute was the Committee of fifteen, elected from among the nominated representatives of its member companies. The Committee in turn elected a Chairman and Deputy Chairman, both normally serving for two years.

The Institute was at first simply an association of underwriters working in the London market. It stemmed from informal meetings of London underwriters to discuss mutual problems. The underwriters recognised that more formal association would be helpful in many ways, such as providing an official channel for talks with governments, shipowners or even other insurers. From the earliest days, the Institute took a dominant role in trying to improve a variety of clauses in general use. Until the Second World War, the Institute remained a small secretariat concerned with promoting its members' interests in general rather than providing services to help process their business. However, the shortage of civilian labour during the Second World War led to the formation of a central Policy Department in October 1942, and the Institute's role began to grow substantially. During 1946, the Institute's Articles of Association were extended to comprise vessels, aircraft, cargoes, freight or other objects of marine, aviation and transit insurance. Lloyd's underwriters were included in membership in the early years, but Lloyd's Underwriters' Association was founded as a separate body in 1909. Nevertheless, the Institute continued to provide a secretariat to deal with questions of interest to the market as a whole. This led to a system of joint ILU/Lloyd'scommittees to monitor topics of interest in particular fields. The Joint Hull Committee was formed in 1910 to discuss all matters connected with hull insurance.

The Technical and Clauses Committee (formed 1925) drew its members from company and Lloyd's underwriters and claim adjusters, to act on mandates from the main committees to revise existing clauses or introduce new ones. The War Risks Rating Committee (formed 1935) monitored situations which might affect the insurance of war risks for cargoes. The Joint Cargo Committee (formed 1942) dealt with insurance of cargo by air as well as by sea.

The Institute was situated at 4 Royal Exchange Buildings (1884-7); 1 St. Michael's House, Cornhill (1887-1930); 37/39 Lime Street (1930-56); 40 Lime Street (1956-86); and 49 Leadenhall Street (1986-98). In 1965 a subsidiary office was opened in Folkestone, to house the Policy Department and accounting centre. In December 1998 the ILU merged with the London International Insurance and Reinsurance Market Association (LIIRMA) to form the International Underwriting Association of London.


Scope and content/abstract:

Institute of London Underwriters records as follows: General Meetings minutes (Ms 31840); annual reports (Ms 31841); Committee minutes and agendas (Mss 31842-4); minutes of various lesser committes and sub-committees (Mss 31845-62); registers of members (Ms 31863); ledgers and cash books (Mss 31864-7); circulars (Mss 31868-9); clauses books (Ms 31870); out-letter books (Mss 31871-80); and miscellaneous papers (Mss 31881-97). The 1884 Memorandum and Articles of Association can be found in vol. 1 of the registers of members (Ms 31863).

A cut-off date of 1960 was applied, and volumes or series (other than Circulars) continuing after this date may only be consulted by readers who have written permission from the donor: ask a member of staff for more information.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The archives of the Institute of London Underwriters were presented to the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by the International Underwriting Association of London in November 2000. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

The Printed Books Section holds two histories of the ILU: Chris Hewer, A Problem Shared: A History of the Institute of London Underwriters (London: Witherby, 1984); and Institute of London Underwriters, Institute of London Underwriters: An Introduction (London: The Institute, 1987).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
January to May 2011.

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