Lloyd’s of London will publicly name and shame anyone it bans from its insurance market for sexual harassment, according to Chief Executive Officer John Neal.
“When we do see instances of bad behavior, and let’s hope they are infrequent, we have got to be public and decisive about the action that we take,” Neal said in an interview on Wednesday. “People have got to be really clear that you cannot behave that way. Where we ban someone we should be very public about it.”
Neal was responding to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, published last week, which found a deep-seated culture of sexual misconduct in the London insurance market. Drawing on the experiences of 18 women, the report detailed an atmosphere of near-persistent harassment, ranging from lewd and suggestive comments to unwanted touching to sexual assault.
“This is not the Lloyd’s that I want to be part of,” Neal said. “We have got to ensure that everybody, whether it’s a woman or a man, should feel safe at any time of day doing anything that’s associated with the Lloyd’s market. I’m determined that will be the case.”
One of the women in the Bloomberg article described an experience in which a senior manager drunkenly attacked her in a pub right around the corner from Lloyd’s. Her employer convinced her it would be bad for her career to pursue a complaint. Other women who experienced similar abuse and had lodged formal complaints said their careers had suffered as a consequence.
Neal said it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of Lloyd’s to ban alcohol outside of its buildings, but added that he would no longer tolerate it on the premises and would eject anyone who was drunk.
Lloyd’s of London outlined a plan on Tuesday to address the allegations of harassment by setting up an independent whistleblower hotline and laying out potential lifetime bans for anyone found guilty of sexual harassment. The proposals were agreed upon at an emergency meeting of industry executives convened on Monday evening by Neal. Lloyd’s also committed to having an independent culture survey taken to identify the scale of the issue.
“While it’s an incredibly negative position to come from, you’ve written a story that has galvanized us into more action,” Neal said. “I think we have to use that as a rallying call.”
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