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Lloyd’s CEO sees ‘biggest ever, unusual and uneven’ recession

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This year’s COVID pandemic has triggered “mind-boggling” economic policy and “we’re about to go into the biggest recession we will have ever seen”, Lloyd’s CEO John Neal says.

Some businesses will do unusually well and a lot will struggle, he said during an AOn-sponsored “fireside chat”.

“The recession we’re going to go into is going to be horrible, but unusually it is going to be completely uneven,” Mr Neal said.

He says the world “changed forever” during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis when low interest rates became entrenched.

The US has borrowed a further $US6 trillion ($8.4 trillion) due to COVID restrictions on movement, and debt levels are the highest since World War II.

“I can’t write the number down it is so big,” he said.

Lloyd’s will sign off plans that will allow the market to write about $US15 billion ($20.97 billion) of new business in 2021, and Mr Neal says he is “happy that we’re confident the market is on track to perform in line with expectation”.

“We’re in the heat of battle at the moment signing off business plans. I think the market will grow next year by something in the order of 12-13%.”

He says pricing is clearly going up and “we can actually allow some growth in exposure”.

Mr Neal also says an insurance-linked securities (ILS) offering being developed for the market will be ready next year and “different to Bermuda but complementary.”