As a landmark, the Lloyd’s of London building is distinctly iconic and has played host to a number of momentous moments for the insurance industry, both positive and negative. However, today the Financial Times (the FT) has reported that Lloyd’s is exploring a move away from the Richard Rogers-designed building.
The FT noted that the news on the Lloyd’s building, which was first reported by the property trade publication React, is a blunt reminder of the impact COVID-19 has had on the office market. Lloyd’s is reported to be “considering a range of options around our workspace strategy and the future leasing arrangements for Lloyd’s”.
This could mean that the oldest insurance market in the world will potentially depart its City of London headquarters, which it has occupied since it opened in 1986. Lloyd’s is one of the City’s last face-to-face financial markets and sees underwriters sitting at desks called ‘boxes’ while brokers line up to see them and discuss coverage options. Since the COVID work from home order, however, thousands of insurance underwriters and brokers have been forced to do business online, only recently returning to the HQ.
The FT reported that Lloyd’s has a lease on the office tower, which is owned by Chinese insurance group Ping An, until 2031, with a break clause in 2026 and noted that Lloyd’s CEO John Neal has previously discussed reorganising the famous underwriting room to turn it into a less formal space. Lloyd’s is now thought to be considering a more significant change.
Commenting on that consideration, Lloyd’s said, “As we adapt to new structures and flexible ways of working, we are continuing to carefully think about the future requirements for the spaces and services our marketplace needs.”
More detailed plans are being drawn up and could be shared later this year, The FT reported. It is the latest news to come from Lloyd’s which earlier in January entered a joint venture with DXC Technology and IUA to enable the market’s digital transformation.