When reading a volume about the history of navigation, I stumbled over the quantity of the term “Lloyd” in company names and researhced deeper into the affair. Apart from the best-known example, the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, there’s plenty of other enterprises with that word. There was the North German Lloyd shipping company, now Hapag-Lloyd, there’s a classification company that calls itself the Germanic Lloyd, and (now landlocked) Austria’s largest shipowner is the Austrian Lloyd. Apparentlx, there also was a Paris-based insurance company, Lloyd Francais.
My own theory (not based on anything, it’s just a WAG) is that the insurance, named after its founder, whom I know to have been named Lloyd, was the first. When new companies were founded in the boom during the 19th century, they somehow figured that the term must be something that bears a certain reputation in the navigation business, and it sound cool, so they included it in their names.
Is that right? anybody knows more about this?
As far as Lloyd’s of London goes, my understanding is that the name derives from the fact that, in the early days, the underwriters would meet on a regular basis at Lloyd’s Coffee House.
With respect to the other Lloyd’s your guess sounds good to me - just look at all the dictionaries that have the word “Webster” in their titles. But I don’t know.
IIRC the original Lloyds’ was, and is, an association of independent insurance underwriters. Either singly, or all of them en masse, or in various subsets and combinations they agree to insure against specific risks. It’s more like a stock market with individual traders, than a monolithic insurance company. The reason you hear them mentioned in regard to navigation is because marine insurance was the earliest type of insurance to be offered. Nowadays, “marine” insurance includes overland shipping–even if by truck. Insurance terminology can be a bit on the arcane side.
When used generically, the term “Lloyd’s insurers” denotes enterprises patterned after the original Lloyds.