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First female Lloyd’s CEO: Job a ‘great statement’

The first female head of Lloyd's of London, the insurance market which has been a male bastion for centuries, called her appointment a "great statement."

Inga Beale, who was appointed late last year, told CNBC: "I love all of the talk that's going on about putting more women on boards and in executive teams. I'm totally supportive of it."


She added that Lloyd's aims to "reflect our customer base, our policyholder base, and that's what we're really trying to do with anything around hiring or bringing talent in."

Lloyd's unveiled a 16 percent jump in profits to £3.2 billion and a return on capital of 16 percent in 2013 on Wednesday. This was fueled by a relatively benign year for natural disasters, after a few years in which Hurricane Sandy, the tsunami in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand and floods in Thailand led to hefty payouts.

(Read more: Natural disasters sink Lloyd's profits)

The group of insurers reported a combined ratio (the measure of how much they are paying out in claims versus how much they are receiving in premiums) of 86.8, an improvement on 91 in 2012.

Beale, who started out at Lloyd's more than three decades ago as an underwriter, before becoming head of reinsurer Canopius and ultimately of the Lloyd's syndicate, said that there had been "lots of modernization and change" in the insurance market since then.

(Read more: Boardroom boys club)

Still, only three of 87 Lloyd's syndicates had a female active underwriter up at the end of 2010, according to industry magazine The Insurance Insider. There are three female chief executives in the FTSE 100 at the moment.

The position of women in the boardroom has come into increasing focus in recent years, following high-profile campaigns from women like Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.