New digs for Lloyd's Asia
Tue 15 Nov 2011
The new Singapore offices for Lloyd’s Asia provides ample space to grow within impressive architecture
Earlier this month, Lloyd’s Asia moved into gleaming new offices in Singapore’s Marina Bay. The new digs continue the tradition of housing Lloyd’s within innovative and sustainable buildings.
Having expanded from two to 20 syndicates in the space of just ten years, the Asia platform quickly outgrew its original offices. With continued expansion within this miniature market the need for new office space quickly became apparent.
“One of the reasons we have moved to the new building in Asia Square is that we needed double the space,” says Kent Chaplin, Lloyd’s Head of Asia Pacific. “We’ve increased in headcount from a handful of people in 2004 to 257 today – and we’ve quite simply run out of space.”
Space and light
The new Asia Square development at the heart of Marina Bay ticks all the boxes for the growing enterprise. Over two floors of the twin-tower development Lloyd’s Asia will have all the space and light it needs to create its underwriting floors as well as plenty of room for expansion.
Each floor can accommodate up to 450 people. The column-free design and floor-to-ceiling windows echo the Lloyd’s of London Underwriting Room. But with elevated views out over the marina there will be no mistaking its location.
Singapore is being strategically positioned as a hub for the Asia Pacific market, which has seen an increasing volume of business placed through the market over the past ten years.
“The Singaporean insurance market has experienced exponential growth; premium income has grown from $5.7bn to $7.1bn in the last three years and we’re growing with it,” says Chaplin.
“We started in 2000 with two syndicates writing a single digit US million dollar premium and in 2010 we wrote $327m,” he continues. “Today we have about 20 syndicates writing $330m-plus. The Lloyd’s Asia platform has grown 477% between 2006 and 2010. This year is forecast to be another year of just under 50% year-on-year growth.”
The platform’s original focus was on marine and energy business but it has steadily expanded to include all other major lines of business. Commercial property, property reinsurance and energy are some of the fastest growing classes.
As in London, Lloyd’s Asia is building a reputation for its specialist underwriting approach. “We’ve only been in Asia for a little over ten years as a direct insurer here on the ground, so Lloyd’s is nowhere near as well as understood as it is in London, Europe, North America or even Australasia,” says Chaplin. “Although we have a high profile we’ve got a lot of work to do to ensure the distribution chain – the brokers, cedants and policyholders – understand Lloyd’s and how it operates.”
Phase one of the two million square feet complex was completed this summer. When the second tower is finished in 2013 Asia Square will boast a 280-room five-star hotel, 60,000 feet of retail space (with restaurants, shops, bars and Singapore’s largest gym) and ‘The Cube’, a 100,000 square foot area of open public space with a regular programme of exhibitions and performances.
Joining Lloyd’s in its impressive new surroundings are some other big multinational brands including Marsh and McLennan Companies, Julius Baer and Google.
Asia Square boasts an environmentally sustainable design. Thanks to energy-saving initiatives the development will consume 35% less energy than standard commercial buildings. The total savings of 10 million kWh is enough to power 2,000 homes for a month.
The development will also consume 40% less water than other office blocks, equivalent to 90 million litres – or 36 Olympic size swimming pools.
All aspects of air quality and temperature will be regulated within the buildings and the owners have developed a sustainability guide to encourage all its tenants to adopt sustainable practices in the workplace.
Four hundred bicycle racks have been built to encourage workers to do their part to reduce carbon emissions while an onsite biodiesel recycling plant will produce 240,000 litres of fuel each year.