Risk Management – Gas Safety

“Education around energy safety not only helps you and your family, but assists the community as a whole.”

The use of gas appliances has increased considerably in the past few years as it is a safe, reliable and convenient alternative when we can’t rely on an electricity supply. Gas is most often used for heating and cooking. The gas you use is standard LPG (liquified petroleum gas) and is made of a mixture of propane and butane gases. Its simple chemical structure means that it’s clean-burning and very safe. LPG cannot burn without air and because the gas is stored in a cylinder, it’s easy to move around or take outside. What we don’t always consider when it comes to heating and cooking alternatives (such as gas) is safety, and how other energy sources pose a risk to our well-being. Education around energy safety not only helps you and your family, but assists the community as a whole.

Although gas is safe to use if installed according to regulations, the most common types of hazards associated with the use of it include explosions and fire. There are a number of guidelines to take into consideration where the installation of gas is concerned. The following tips around installation and usage can be found in the South African National Standards (SANS) guide under gas usage and installation regulations:

  • Gas bottles may not be installed less than 1 metre sideways from doors and windows.
  • All copper pipes going through a wall must be sleeved.
  • Your gas installation must be accompanied by a certificate of conformity for gas appliances.
  • Gas equipment must be installed according to SABS requirements (SANS087).
  • Only gas bottles of less than 19 kg can be stored inside a building.
  • When gas stoves are in use, ensure sufficient ventilation and do not open the gas flame too high, and ensure that the gas is turned off properly after use.

Gas compliance

The law states that only qualified South African Qualification & Certification Committee (SAQCC) Gas registered installers are allowed to install or service any gas appliance. The law also requires all gas installations to have a valid certificate of compliance, much like an electrical or plumbing certificate. Insurance companies also insist on a valid certificate of compliance for gas installations when processing any claims.

Most domestic gas installations can be divided into two categories: an external (outdoor) installation or an internal (indoor) installation. The regulations for cupboard (internal) installations are a little simpler, but each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Cupboard installations

Probably the simplest form of gas installation, especially for kitchen appliances, is to put your gas cylinder inside a cupboard next to your appliance, usually a stove or hob. The regulations for these installations have a few requirements:

  • The cupboard used to contain the cylinder MUST be sealed off from all other cupboards around it.
  • The cupboard door must be vented at the top AND bottom to ensure free ventilation around the cylinder.
  • The cupboard MAY NOT be directly below your hob.
  • No electrical connections, plugs or switches are allowed inside the cupboard being used to house LPG cylinders.
  • The room containing the cupboard MUST NOT contain any electrical distribution boards.

Outdoor installations

One of the most important things to consider when planning an outdoor installation is the section of the SANS code referring to minimum distances. There are very strict requirements of minimum distances that are specified from your cylinder to certain features such as doors, windows and electrical points.

According to the SANS code, gas cylinders must always be installed at minimum distances of:

  • at least 1 m away from any door or window that extends below the height of the cylinder valves;
  • at least 3 m away from any boundary wall that is not a firewall;
  • if the boundary wall is a firewall, the cylinders may be installed against the wall;
  • at least 2 m away from any inlet for an air conditioner;
  • at least 5 m away from any electrical source; and
  • at least 2 m away from any drain or manhole.

Useful contacts

All gas installations are certified and monitored by the Liquified Petroleum Gas Safety Association of South Africa. For more information and advice, visit: www.lpgas.co.za.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS): www.sabs.co.za

Reference article: http://www.spotongmag.co.za/articles/gas-safety-here-s-what-you-need-to-know-7120.html

 

Take one small step for mankind!

 

Cape Town is set to run out of water by the end of April.  It will be the world’s first major city to do so.  Due to climate change, scientists are predicting that this will be happening all over the world. We have been consistently warned about the devastating effects of climate change, effects we are all experiencing regularly.  So many people state that it is too late to do anything about it and some organisations are already working on colonizing other planets like Mars.
Earth, our home, is an astonishingly beautiful and wondrous place. Take a peek at some of its magic:

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA
In the Navajo desert of Arizona, Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon made up of stunning cracks and corkscrews, creating a wonderful light show.
Take a tour here


Rainbow Mountains: Peru
One of the most magnificent geologic features in the world is the Ausangate Mountain of the Peruvian Andes. The mountain is striped with colours ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. However, this “painted mountain” is notoriously difficult to find and get to, requiring several days of hiking to reach its peak deep within the Andes by way of Cusco.
Take a tour here


The Rainbow Mountains of China within the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park are a geological wonder of the world. These famous Chinese mountains are known for their otherworldly colors that mimic a rainbow painted over the tops of rolling mountains.
Take a tour here

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat, left behind by prehistoric lakes evaporated long ago.  At certain times of the year, nearby lakes overflow and a thin layer of water transforms the flats into a stunning reflection of the sky.
Take a tour here

Northern Lake Baikal, Russia (Turquoise Ice Of Lake Baikal)
Located in southern Siberia it is the world’s largest freshwater bit of blue. The water round these parts freezes into sheets of turquoise ice in winter that might look more at home in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Temperatures can plummet to -19°C from December to February.
Take a tour here

Red Seabeach, China
The beach in Dawa in the Liaoning region of China, is famous for being red. It’s not actually sand that gives it its colour, but the plant, Chenopodiaceae, which in autumn turns this saltmarsh-type land into a mind-bending sea of red.

Caño Cristales in Colombia (The River of Five Colours)
Caño Cristales (English: Crystal Channel) is a Colombian river located in the Serrania de la Macarena province of Meta. The river is commonly called the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow,” and is even referred to as the most beautiful river in the world due to its striking colours of yellow, green, blue, black and red.
Take a tour here

 

Fly Geyser in Black Rock Desert
The source of the Fly Geyser field’s heat is attributed to a very deep pool of hot rock where tectonic rifting and faulting are common. Fly Geyser was accidentally created during well drilling in 1964 while exploring for sources of geothermal energy.  The well may not have been capped correctly, or left unplugged, but either way, dissolved minerals started rising and accumulating, creating the travertine mound on which the geyser sits and continues growing. Water is constantly released, reaching 5 feet (1.5 m) in the air. The geyser contains several terraces discharging water into 30 to 40 pools over an area of 74 acres (30 ha). The geyser is made up of a series of different minerals, but its brilliant colours are due to thermophilic algae.
Take a tour here

Do we really want to live here?

Are you ready to do your bit for the planet? Will you be like Neil Armstrong and take that first step? “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” (click on the link to watch his iconic walk).

Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Diet has more impact on climate change than transportation. Here’s how to fix that.
Water Footprint Network

Braaivleis, Rugby, Sunny Skies and Chevrolet

   

 

Remember the 1970’s Chevrolet advert which was more like a South African anthem? Well, we may not have Chevrolet any longer but braai’s, rugby and sunshine are still very much what living in South Africa is all about.  Here are some interesting facts about our country that you might not know:

South African Inventions:

  • CAT Scan
  • Q20
  • Automated pool cleaning systems
  • Oil from Coal
  • Pratley’s Putty
  • Dolosse
  • Retinal Cryoprobe
  • Speed Gun
  • Smartlock Safety Syringe

Vredefort Dome
SA is home to the biggest visible meteorite impact structure that geologists have yet found on Earth. The crater is about 300km wide (the distance from Johannesburg to Welkom).  It is also the oldest impact crater and reportedly the site of the largest energy release in history. The Vredefort Dome is in the Free State and is now a world heritage site.

Adams Calendar
The African Stonehedge known as Adam’s Calendar is situated in Mpumalanga and is arguably the oldest man-made structure in the world, predating both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is possibly the only example of a functional, mostly intact monolithic stone calendar in the world.

Barberton Greenstone Belt
In Mpumalanga, the Barberton Mountain range is over 3.5 billion years old, and remains one of the best preserved and least altered early Archaean rock formations in the world. Also, a bacterial micro fossil Archaeospheroides barbertonis was discovered here and is believed to have been the first form of life on earth. NASA is reputed to often visit this area and study the rocks, to gain a better understanding of how life could form on other planets.

Shipwrecks
It has been estimated there are around 3,000 shipwrecks off the coast of South Africa. The 3,000km of coastline, including the infamous Cape of Good Hope and the coastline of the Eastern Cape, have been claiming seafaring victims for centuries. All shipwrecks are now protected under South African law.

The Sardine Run
The annual South African fish migration (Sardine Run), is so huge it can be seen from space. Between May and July every year, millions of sardines travel in vast shoals from the cold waters off South Africa’s Cape Point up to the coastlines of the northern Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal.  The oldest known record of the run is a mention in the Natal Mercury newspaper of 4 August 1853.

People
Several important science and technology people were born in South Africa, including Max Theiler who created the Yellow Fever vaccine, Allan McLeod Cormack who helped invent the CAT Scan, Dr Chris Barnard who conducted the first heart transplant and Elon Musk.

While South Africa is a democratic republic with a President heading the nation, we also have kings, specifically provided for by the Constitution. The following seven remain recognized as Kingdoms:

Other interesting facts:
South Africa is the only country in the world to build and then decide to dismantle the whole of its nuclear weapons programme. Former president Frederik Willem de Klerk said South Africa had built six crude atomic bombs and had started a seventh during a 15-year clandestine project, when it decided to voluntarily dismantle its arsenal in 1989.

The Cape Route 62 (R62) is the longest wine route in the world.

Bloukrans Bridge is the highest commercial bungy jump in the world and is situated along the Garden Route. It is an impressive 216 metres high.

And aren’t we funny!
18 Things only South Africans will find funny

2017 Year In Review

As this year draws to a close, we take a look back at the events that shaped 2017. The themes shaping this year are once again political upheaval and unrest, terror attacks and severe climate conditions.

Here are some highlights from each month:

January

  • 20thDonald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America and Mike Pence as the 48th Vice President .
  • 21stMore than 2 million people protest worldwide in the ‘Women’s March’against Donald Trump, with 500,000 marching in Washington D.C.

February

  • 1stBritish MPs vote in favour of the European Union Bill, allowing the government to begin Brexit
  • 20thFamine is declared in Unity State, South Sudan, affecting 4.9 million

March

  • 22ndTerrorist attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament kills 4 including a police officer and injures 40
  • 30thEx-South Korean president Park Geun-hye arrested in corruption investigation

April

  • 7thNation wide ‘ZumaMustFall’ protests
  • 29th: 3 tornadoes hit south east of Dallas, Texas, killing 5

May

  • 7thEmmanuel Macron wins France’s presidential election
  • 22ndSouth Africa’s Western Cape province declares a drought disaster – worst for 113 years

June

  • South African media began reporting on more than 100,000 documents and emails leaked from inside the business empire of the Gupta family.
  • 14thFire in Grenwell Tower block in London, England kills 79 and injures 37

July

  • 5th101 people reported shot, 15 killed in Chicago, Illinois over 4th July weekend
  • 30th: Hackers reveal they have stolen data from HBO, including episodes and scripts of Games of Thrones

August

  • 8thSouth African President Jacob Zuma survives a no-confidence vote in parliament 198-177
  • 30th: Hurricane Irma forms near Cape Verde Islands, will go on to become category 5 hurricane and kill at least 102

September

  • 5thTogo’s government shuts down the internet for a week to quell government opposition
  • 20thHurricane Maria makes landfall on Puerto Rico as a category 4 hurricane, knocking out all power and killing 25

October

  • 1stStephen Paddock shoots dead 58 people, injuring 489, at a concert in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in American history
  • 4thEnglish PM Theresa May suffers nightmare speech at Conservative National Conference as her voice fails, prankster interrupts and set collapses

November

December
The ANC’s 54th National Conference will be held between 16 and 20 December 2017, where the new ANC president will be elected.

While this is a depressing read and one might feel like grabbing the Prozac, an article headed  “Forecast | Third industrial revolution to cause a deflation outbreak: Future of the economy P2” states:
Unlike what our 24-hour news channels would like us to believe, we live in the safest, wealthiest, and most peaceful time in human history. Our collective ingenuity has enabled mankind to end widespread starvation, disease, and poverty. Even better, thanks to a wide range of innovations currently in the pipeline, our standard of living is set to become even cheaper and considerably more bountiful.  …. Instead, there are a collection of overlapping trends, chief among them being that humanity is struggling through the growing pains of adjusting to the third industrial revolution.

Overall, humanity may just be struggling through the growing pains of making a new and better world in general. Unfortunately, it’s set to get worse before it gets better so maybe some Prozac isn’t a bad idea.

On a brighter note, it’s almost Holiday Season!
F&I would like to wish each of you Happy Holidays and safe travelling over the feastive season.

The Dumb Supper

Modern day Halloween has developed from Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which was the ancient Celtics New Year, held on 1 November. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest. The Celtics occupied Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France about 2000 years ago and believed that the day before New Year, October 31, is when the worlds between the living and the dead blurred and thus spirits were able to enter the world of the living. The presence of these spirits also made it easier for the Druids or Celtic priests, to make predictions of the future, and they commemorated this event by building huge sacred bonfires where people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. The Celts wore costumes of animal heads and skins during the celebrations.

This was also the day when the dead could return to their families. Extra places were set at the table and dinner is served to those who chose to return.  The dinner is held as close to midnight as possible in absolute silence, hence the name “dumb supper”. This tradition is still practiced by Pagans today.

The Christian ‘All Souls’ day is also celebration to honour the dead and is celebrated on 2 November. With the spread of Christianity through the Celtic lands, many of the Celtic traditions were merged with Christian celebrations and the celebration of the dead became what we today refer to as Halloween.

Halloween symbols:

The word Witch is derived from the word “Wicca” meaning “Wise One” and refers to the medicine woman / herbal healers, of that time.
The witches Broom: A surprising story relating to hallucinogens:“Why did you awaken me, badness to you, at such an inauspicious moment? Why I was surrounded by all the delights in the world.”
The witches Cat: Familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as “familiars” or “animal guides”) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.
The jack-o’- lanterns have their origins in what is known as Will-o-th-wisp. It is believed that the custom of making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween began in Ireland. Sometimes they were used by Halloween guises to frighten people and sometimes they were set on windowsills to keep harmful spirits out of one’s home. It has also been suggested that the jack-o’-lanterns originally represented Christian souls in purgatory.
Some interesting reading:

There is a museum in Boscastle, Cornwall, England that houses the largest collection of witchcraft regalia in the world.

King James I released his best-selling book “Demonology” in which he explored demonic magic and witchcraft. James was so obsessed with the “black arts” that in 1604, he managed to persuade Parliament to pass the Witchcraft Statute according to which witchcraft was punishable by death.

If you are looking for a haunting experience in Johannesburg, try the mystery ghost bus tour or the mystery ghost dinners.

And for a laugh, here of some really funny pictures of frightened guests at the Nightmare Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada.

 

“Clearly New Zealand is not for sale.”

 

“Clearly New Zealand is not for sale.”

In 2006 a man from Australia tried to sell New Zealand on eBay after he had visited the country and “did not think very much of it”.  His advertisement described the country as “having very ordinary weather” and “the dodgiest American Cup win ever”.  He started the bid at A$0.01 (one Australian cent) and the price rose to A$3,000 (R30,800), before eBay closed the auction.  “Clearly New Zealand is not for sale” said Daniel Feiler, eBay Australia.

Remember the financial crises in Iceland 2008 – 2011? In 2008 a seller put the country up for sale on eBay advertising “Located in the mid-Atlantic ridge in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland will provide the winning bidder with: a habitable environment, Icelandic horses and admittedly a somewhat sketchy financial situation.” Singer Björk was not included in the sale.  The auction started at 99 pence and reached 10 million pounds (R167,851,000). One article indicated that it was the president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who put the country up for auction stating “At least if we get a few thousand dollars for our whole island we will be happy”, however there are no other articles to verify this.  Of course Iceland was also not for sale and has since declared financial stability.

After a divorce, 44 year old Ian Usher put his “entire life” up for sale, which included his house, car and all material possessions, his friends and his job. His employer, Jenny Jones, who runs a rug store in Perth, agreed to take whoever buys the “life” on a two-week trial, with a view to a permanent job. His friends also agreed to make themselves available to the winning bidder. “The sunny weather will be thrown in for free, with temperatures in Perth currently averaging more than 30C.”
His life was sold for $384,000 (over R5 million). His story became an international sensation and he has since written a book and bought an island amongst other things.

 

Click here to read other weird things sold on eBay

Bread and Roses

 

Bread and Roses

…As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!
James Oppenheim poem from 1911

Women’s Day – what is it all about?

A very brief history:

Early International Woman’s Day in the US and Europe
On 19 March 1911 International Women’s Day was marked for the first  time with over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland attending rallies to end gender discrimination and secure women’s rights to work, vote, be trained and hold public office.

The first UN International Women’s Day
The United Nations (UN) began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March 1975 and in December 1977 adopted a resolution proclaiming a “United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.”

National Women’s Day
We adopted the 9th of August in commemoration of the Woman’s March against the ‘pass laws’ held on this day in 1956.  More than 20,000 South African woman of all races marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the amendments to the Urban Area’s act of 1950, which restricted the movement of non-whites and designated specific areas to live, work and travel. They were required to carry and produce their “pass” at all times and this amendment would have extended these restrictions to black woman.

Taken from a Petition presented to the Prime Minister JG Strijdom on 9 August 1956.

“…We are women from every part of South Africa.
We are women of every race, we come from the cities and the towns, from the reserves and the villages.
We come as women united in our purpose to save the African women from the degradation of passes…
In the name of women of South Africa, we say to you, each one of us, African, European, Indian, Coloured, that we are opposed to the pass system. We voters and voteless, call upon your Government not to issue passes to African women.
We shall not rest until ALL pass laws and all forms of permits restricting our freedom have been abolished.
We shall not rest until we have won for our children their fundamental rights of freedom, justice, and security.”

The march was organised by the Federation of South African Women (FSAW) led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams De Bruyn (all 4 woman pictured below)

The women left 14,000 petitions at the office doors of Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom. They stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”, its latest incarnation “you strike a woman, you strike a rock”.
Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom was not at the Union Buildings to receive the petition and the pass laws were only repealed 30 years later in 1986.
Since 1994, August has been declared as Woman’s Month and 9 August is celebrated as a public holiday.

And a bit more history:

  • The National Party granted white woman over 21 the right to vote and stand for election in 1930. Leila Reitz was elected as the first female MP, representing Parktown for the South African Party in 1933.
  • 26 – 29 April 1994 was the first elections where all races and genders were allowed to vote in South Africa.
  • Here is an interesting timeline of when woman were allowed to vote in each country (South Africa appears twice).
  • IWD is now celebrated in more than a 100 countries and is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
  • International Men’s Day (yes, there is one!) is celebrated on 19 November.

When AI is bad at its job

When AI is bad at its job

In March this year we looked at the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how many jobs could be replaced by robots.
In most cases, the technology is impressive even though it is unnerving; however, there are times when AI just doesn’t get it quite right or goes crazy.

Remember K5, the security bot mentioned in the previous article? Besides being purposefully knocked over by drunks or drowning in shallow fountains, one is causing a stir for knocking over a 16 month old boy in a shopping mall and just driving off.
In March 2016, Microsoft introduced Tay, a chat bot developed to conduct research on conversational understanding. Tay was designed to “engage and entertain people through casual and playful conversation” on Twitter. This was an experiment in self learning; “the more you chat to her, the smarter she gets”. Things began pleasantly enough but soon it all went horribly wrong when, in less than a day, Tay started spewing racist slurs amongst other offenses, including “Hitler got it right”.  Microsoft did not fully anticipate what the mostly teenage Twitter community would teach Tay and completely underestimated the trolls and so, after 96,000 tweets, Tay’s Twitter account was suspended and Tay was removed for “adjustments”.
Now while most of Tay’s woes were caused by the humans it was interacting with and learning from, InspiroBot is producing quirky to insane, and sometimes rather sinister inspirational quotes all on its own.
This AI is amusingly bad at its job. Here are some of the quotes it has generated:

Click on the link below and get your own daily inspiration from InspiroBot.

I’m InspiroBot.

I am an artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence.

Cyber Curiosity

The official birthday of the Internet is considered to be 1 January 1983 (making the internet 34 years old). While  Vint Cerf is often dubbed “the father of the internet”, it’s invention has been due to a process of protocols, developments and collaborations between scientists, governments and corporations dating back to the late 1950’s when Russia launched Sputnik, causing the USA to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1958.

The Internet is a massive network of networks, a networking infrastructure which should not be confused with the World Wide Web.
Tim Berners-Lee, a UK scientist working at CERN invented ‘the web’ which makes the internet accessible through the use of browsers (Explorer or Chrome) to access Web Pages (documents) that are linked to each other via hyperlinks and can contain graphics, sounds, text and video.
Tim Berners-Lee conceived and developed the technology to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.

The first webpage went live on 6 August 1991. It outlined how to create Web pages and explained more about hypertext. The very first domain name registered on line was for a computer manufacturer, Symbolics.com on 15 March 1985; today there over 320 million domain names in existence.

According to internet world stats, the world average penetration rates for the internet is 49.6% with 88.1% of the North American population being connected and while Africa is the lowest at 27.7%, the use of smart phones is increasing the population’s access and use of the internet.

Many industries and billionaires have been spawned from this technology, with the top of the log being Bill Gates who is worth $87.7 billion. Tim Berners-Lee would theoretically become a trillionaire but chose instead to give the innovation of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and the World Wide Web to society with no strings attached. He has an estimated net worth of $50 million and was knighted for his invention in 2003 (he is even mentioned in Dan Brown’s book ‘Angels and Demons’).

This technology has transformed every area of our lives and catapulted us into the age of technology where everything and everyone is globally connected. This connection will become more prevalent as the ‘Internet of Things’(IoT) develops.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to a globally connected society which was highlighted in the recent ‘randsomeware’ cyberattack which has been described as “unprecedented” in its reach, with more than 200,000 victims in at least 150 countries.
“Hospitals, major companies and government offices were among those that were badly affected. Cybersecurity experts have said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex (FDX) also reported they had come under assault”.

While this is scary, it reflects the growing need for a ‘new type’ of risk management and insurance with untapped potential for these markets. A definite opportunity for those with the guts to take it on.

A bit of Trivia:
What is a cybernaut? A slang term used to describe a person who uses the Internet to explore and communicate. Cybernaut — travels in cyberspace. The word cybernaut is a play on the words “cyber” and “astronaut”.

Looking at Lloyd’s – An introduction

Lloyd’s is not an insurance company but a marketplace of “syndicates” and “names” governed by a corporate body.
The humble beginnings of Lloyd’s started in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in Tower Street (opened 1686). This was a popular venue for sailors, merchants and ship owners and became the recognised place to go for marine information. It also became the ideal place for obtaining marine insurance.

Lloyd’s insured their first motor vehicle in 1904 but as no guidelines existed, the marine underwriters referred to it as “a ship navigating on land”.
The first aviation insurance policy was written by Lloyd’s in 1911, and 54 years later, in 1965 Lloyd’s was the first to insure the Instelsat 1 satellite, also known as Early Bird. In 1984 they contributed £4.5m towards the cost of the successful recovery of 2 rouge satellites, insured for £133m that were launched into the wrong orbit. They paid a further £3.9m for the development of a tool which would allow the satellites to be grabbed by the shuttle’s recovery arm. The recovery was executed by 5 astronauts in a shuttle called Discovery.
With space travel on the horizon, Lloyd’s has already insured commercial launchers such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic private spaceship as well as Elon Musk’s Space X.

While they have been known to insure some unusual stuff, like a grain of rice with a portrait of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh engraved on it for $20,000, Lloyd’s have been at the forefront of some of the most catastrophic claims; Hurricane Katrina in 2005 of which Lloyd’s share was about $2.3 billion, the tsunami in Japan of 2011, where Lloyd’s paid out 6.6 billion yen within 48 hours and the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks which was Lloyd’s largest ever single loss.

Lloyd’s has an extremely long and colourful history. There are very few organisations that can boast visits by the Royal family and a Twentieth Century Fox movie made about them.