Lloyd’s is the oldest insurance market in the world and Chris Mackinnon (pictured), Lloyd’s country.representative for Australia, has more experience than most.
Mackinnon has led the Australia arm of the market for.the last three years, following 27 years as a broker, but he brings more family history to the role than you may expect as the fifth generation Mackinnon to work in the market.
“The best way of describing it is a genetic disposition,” Mackinnon said.
“So my father was a marine underwriter, my grandfather was a marine underwriter and deputy chairman at Lloyd’s, my great grandfather had his own broking firm that he sold to Howdens in 1911 and his brother, my great, great uncle Percy, was chairman of Lloyd’s five times in the 1920s and 1930s.
“Percy and Norman’s father, my great, great, great, grandfather was Benjamin Mackinnon who was an underwriter in the 1870s.”
Mackinnon’s mother was also a members’ agent, while his brother and cousin are also in the insurance industry.
“I didn’t fall into insurance, I stepped into insurance knowingly and deliberately - but like most people probably took the view of, well, I’ll get a job in insurance until I find out what I want to do in life,” Mackinnon said.
“I’ve been in the insurance industry for 30 years now, and I still don’t know what I want to do in life, so I’ll stick with insurance!”
The Lloyd’s offices in Sydney are a testament to the Mackinnon family history in the market with royal invitations from three Lloyd’s office openings lining the walls and a commemorative plate, given to Percy in 1904, adorning one of the boardrooms.
Mackinnon said that his move to Australia early in his career was a “defining point” which saw him realise the true scope of the industry.
“The reality of seeing a description of a risk on a piece of paper as opposed to when I moved out to Australia and actually went out on site with customers and saw a ship yard or submarine being built, as well as the tangible nature of what we do and not being chained to a desk and getting out in to the field and meeting real people with real risks and helping them, was to be the defining moment where I thought ‘this is brilliant’,” Mackinnon continued.
Describing his career as “diverse and fascinating,”
Mackinnon is still passionate about the industry and about Lloyd’s, so much so that a sixth generation of Mackinnon is also heading to London.
“People say are you forcing your kids into insurance?
Not at all, they have seen the passion that I have and the passion of my parents and my brother,” Mackinnon
“I have 22-year-old and 20-year-old children.
The 22-year-old has just finished his Bachelor of Commerce and is looking to move to London and my 20-year-old daughter is up at Newcastle University doing criminology and psychology – so I reckon she’ll make a good broker!”