It is with a great deal of pleasure that I finally get to say this again after a long wait: The D&O Diary was on assignment in London last week. With two COVID vaccinations under my belt and a booster shot to boot, I just decided it was finally time to start traveling again. It was great being back in London and re-acquainting myself with one of my favorite cities. Pandemic precautions made some parts of the trip awkward, but in most other ways it felt almost normal to be traveling again.
The primary purpose of my trip was to participate in a conference organized by The Geneva Association and held at Lloyd’s entitled “Evolving Liability Conference 2021: Long-Time Liability Implications of Pandemics.” I was a speaker on a panel entitled “Implications for Insurers from Shifts in Liability Standards/Duties of Care Following the COVID-19 Episode.” The conference was a hybrid event, with some audience members and speakers attending live, and other audience members and speakers attending virtually. It was really a pleasure to be at a live industry event again (even if only partially so), the first I have attended since February 2020. It was also great to be at Lloyd’s again. The event was interesting, thought-provoking, and well-run. I would like to thank The Geneva Association, and in particular GA’s Darren Pain, for inviting me to be a part of this excellent event.
In addition to the conference and meetings, I did also have the opportunity to try to refamiliarize myself with London. The weather originally predicted was unpromising, with rain forecast every day. Fortunately for me, the weather turned out much better than predicted. I used my umbrella only once, and otherwise I generally enjoyed pleasant weather and even sunshine during the rest of my visit. I took advantage of the agreeable conditions for a great deal of walking, particularly along the river.
I had other opportunities for long walks during my visit, including in particular as part of separate side trips to Richmond and to Hammersmith, two riverside towns west of London. Both communities have pleasant riverside walkways (and on either side of the river, actually). One particularly fortunate attribute of the weather conditions that prevailed while I was in London was that it seemed to clear up and become sunny late in the afternoon each day. My late afternoon riverside walks in both cities were really enjoyable.
My London visit did involve more than just walking through parks and along the river. I did also work a couple of museum visits into the trip, in both cases going to museums that I had not previously visited, Tate Britain and the Imperial War Museum.
I also took advantage of being back in London to do some important shopping, basically replenishing critical supplies that had run low during the long travel hiatus.
For most of my London visit, things seemed more or less normal, despite the pandemic. I was comfortable traveling on the London Underground. Most passengers on the Tube were wearing masks, as were most people in shops and stores. However, on the street and in pubs, few people wore masks. As is the case in the U.S., there seems to be a split in the U.K. about how to deal with the pandemic. On my final day in London, there was a protest march on Piccadilly against vaccine passports and vaccine mandates.
Air travel felt more or less normal as well, although as a result of the cumulative requirements of the U.S. and U.K governments, I did wind up getting tested for COVID-19 three times in less than ten days. There was a fair amount of process involved as well; a great deal of uploading of documents, filling out online forms, presenting attestations, and so on. It all seemed pointless because I had to present the actual physical documents multiple times on both ends of the trip and all of the boxes had to be checked all over again as well. In the end, the planes did fly and I did get where I wanted to go. Overall, based on my experience, it does seem like the time to start traveling again may have finally arrived.
And it really was good to be back in London again.