The marketplace has announced a reopening date and revealed key changes that have been made  

Lloyd’s of London has revealed when its underwriting room will reopen and changes the market can expect post-refurbishment.

The marketplace closed the space earlier this year (10 July 2023) to introduce, according to chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown, some “much needed improvements”.

In an announcement released on its website yesterday (22 August 2023), Lloyd’s said the room – which is spread across the ground floor as well as galleries one and two – will reopen for face-to-face trading on 18 September 2023.

It highlighted that IT teams from each managing agent were invited to reinstate their underwriter’s technology and hardware throughout August and early September.

Gallery three will continue to operate as a temporary home for managing agents until the reopening, with temporary new routes from reception to other parts of the building remaining in place.

As work continues, Lloyd’s stressed that placing platforms remain operational as does the ability to carry on face-to-face underwriting outside the underwriting room.

Meanwhile, events in the Old Library will also recommence from 18 September 2023, while tours will start again from 25 September 2023.

‘Vibrancy’ fostered

The decision to revamp the underwriting room followed an extensive market wide consultation conducted by Lloyd’s in Q1 2021.

A separate consultation about equitable allocation of space on the ground floor was also held in Q1 2023 – at that time, brokers expressed concerns that underwriters had reduced their time in the box and that distributed attendance rotas were left unfulfilled.

Brokers, as a result, exclusively told Insurance Times that the market was “very much at risk, not least because there are fewer junior staff learning their trade”.

In its announcement yesterday, Lloyd’s highlighted that the outcomes from the initial consultation showed an “in-person trading environment is still seen as critical”.

“It must foster vibrancy, enable progress and create a sense of belonging,” the marketplace added.

“It is this critical mass of people working together and face-to-face trading that delivers added intangible benefits which also need to be supported and leveraged – [for example] serendipitous encounters, market intelligence gathering and nurturing talent.”

To achieve this once the underwriting room reopens, a total of 44 managing agents will now have a presence on the ground floor, compared to 31 pre-refurbishment.

And although refurbishment works have not been carried out in gallery one or gallery two, Lloyd’s stated there had been a “number of changes with the managing agents who are remaining on these floors, particularly their locations and boxes sizes”.

Lloyd’s also revealed that it had worked with suppliers and experts to make the ground floor “an attractive and comfortable workplace”.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone back in September to see the changes,” it said.