The organisation known today as Lloyd's of London, or simply Lloyd's, has its roots in Lloyd's Coffee House, opened by Edward Lloyd in Tower Street, London in about 1688. The coffee house was frequented by many sailors, merchants and shipowners to whom Edward Lloyd gave information about maritime matters. Over time, interested parties set up maritime insurance arrangements which formed the basis for the development of Lloyd's.
Lloyd's is not, however, an insurance company. It may be described as an 'insurance market of members' which means that Lloyd's itself does not underwrite insurance business, but regulates the business of its members and provides them with centralised administrative support.