Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance underwriting market, was granted a license to set up its first operation in China in an agreement signed in front of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chinese President Hu Jintao in London. It gives Lloyd's access to one of the world's fastest-growing insurance markets. China has been warm to Lloyd's, but its status as a market rather than a company resulted in protracted negotiations that have run for the past seven years. Under the agreement, Lloyd's can operate a subsidiary in China offering reinsurance in local currency. It will join the world's two largest reinsurance companies, Swiss Re and Munich Re, both of which recently received licenses to operate in China.