The business began in Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse around 1688 in London, England. While Lloyd was only the proprietor, his establishment was a popular place for sailors, merchants, and ship owners and Lloyd catered to them with reliable shipping news and a variety of services. The shipping industry community frequented the place to discuss insurance deals among themselves.
This arrangement carried on long after Lloyd's death in 1713 until 1774 when the participating members of the insurance arrangement formed a committee and moved to the Royal Exchange as The Society of Lloyd's. In 1871, The Lloyd's Act was passed in Parliament which gave the business a sound legal footing. By the early 1900s, the business became one of the pre-eminent insurance companies in the world. The Lloyd's Act of 1982 further redefined the corporate structure of the business.
Today, Lloyd's is best known for the unusual policies it has taken out, although their general company policy precludes life insurance. Some of the more unusual policies include: