Lloyd’s of London is considering leaving its iconic headquarters as it seeks out ways to adapt to shifts in working habits brought about by digitalisation of its business and Covid-19.
In an email to City AM, a Lloyd’s of London spokesperson 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.”
“Currently, like many other organisations, we are considering a range of options around our workspace strategy and the future leasing arrangements for Lloyd’s. We are aiming to share our plans during 2022.”
Completed in 1986, the Lloyd’s building – often referred to as the Inside-Out building – received a Grade I listing in 2011, making it England’s newest Grade I listed building at the time.
Designed by Anglo-Italian ‘starchitect’ Richard Rogers and built over an eight-year period at a cost of £75 million, the Lloyd’s building sits at the heart of the City of London, on the former site of the East India Company’s London headquarters.
Rogers, whose other work includes the Pompidou Centre in Paris and London’s Millennium Dome, was commissioned to design the Lloyd’s building after beating rivals including Norman Foster in a competition for the contract in 1978.
Lloyd’s currently rents its headquarters from Chinese firm Ping An, which acquired the building from German asset manager Commerz Real in 2013 for £260 million.
Although Lloyd’s current lease lasts until 2031, the insurer has a break clause in 2026 that could enable the firm to leave its premises earlier.
First established out of Lloyds Coffee House – a meeting place for sailors, merchants, and shipowners – in 1686, Lloyds of London has worked out of five different City of London premises in its 335-year history.
Lloyd’s previously weighed up the option of leaving its current iconic headquarters in 2014, after the building’s inside-out design was criticised by Lloyds of London’s former CEO, Richard Ward.
“That’s the fundamental problem with this building. Everything is exposed to the elements and that makes it very costly,” Ward said during an interview with Reuters.
Last year, Lloyds said it planned to overhaul its underwriting room and supporting spaces, through a “once-in-a-generation journey” with a view to adapting to “the increasing trends of flexible working and digitalisation, which have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic”.