The power of the Lloyd's brand is rather like having a golden ticket to the swankiest bar in town - it's guaranteed to get you in with little fuss.

It's not surprising therefore that the licence to do business in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, is one of the major draws of doing business at Lloyd's.

Lloyd's is certainly alive to this fact and, as a result, is giving its faithful followers the opportunity to cash in on significant growth opportunities in Asia.

Lloyd's China will begin trading in early 2007 and it's no coincidence that the specialist insurance market has spread its wings in the Far East at a time when the region is experiencing what has been described as "phenomenal growth rates".

Research points to a vast capital inflow into China, demographic trends and high rates of domestic and household saving.

In short: it has become the world's fastest growing economy with premium increasing fourfold in the last decade to $16.8bn.

As James Sutherland, head of development and operations at Lloyd's, puts it, China is a "real opportunity".

"[China's] domestic insurance and reinsurance market is thriving, and this is the right time for Lloyd's underwriters to start offering their expertise and services," Sutherland enthuses.

"Our onshore licence there will enable Lloyd's to reinsure local currency business which currently makes up nearly 90% of the total Chinese market."

Lord Mayor David Brewer - a former Sedgwick (China) chairman - is joining the revolution as he starts a trip to Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang and Dalian this week. He is heading up the Square Mile's largest and strongest ever business delegation to promote the opportunities offered by UK-based financial services.

Like Lloyd's, Brewer is keen to tap into the potential of high growth, quality Chinese companies.

"By working closely with the City of London, north eastern China will grow a lot more rapidly in economic terms, which will help bring common prosperity for all," says Brewer.

While marine cargo, product liability, directors' & officers', and professional liability insurance have all been identified as areas for "dynamic growth" in 2007, the key to riches in the long term lies in the hands of brokers.

According to Lloyd's research, brokers' market share in Asia is set to surge because of a significant demand for their services.

Only last week, Benfield announced it was opening a branch office in Taiwan to further enhance its presence in Greater China.

There is no question that Asia is full of eastern promise, but with the excitement comes obvious reservations. One senior industry figure warns that writing business in uncharted territory can be very expensive and questions whether the rewards will outweigh the costs. IT