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Lloyd's of London - One of the most important buildings in the world.

The Lloyd's of London building, built between 1978 and 1986, and located in the heart of the City of London is the youngest ever to receive Grade 1 listed status by the advice of English Heritage.  Only 2.5% of listed buildings, which are considered to be of exceptional interest, are Grade 1. A listed building may not be demolished, extended or altered without special permission from the local planning authority.  So what makes the building so special?  The Discover Risk team paid a visit to Lloyds to find out more about the building, and its history.

Lloyd's of London (no - nothing to do with Lloyds bank) is the largest marketplace for international insurance - and there are no others like it in the world.  Lloyd's brokers come to Lloyd's to do business and it is in the Underwriting Room that they place their client's risks (to find out what a broker and an underwriter do click here).  With over 80 underwriters occupying the underwriting floor, the building needs to maximise the floor space, which is why architect Richard Rogers designed the staircases, lifts, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the outside of the building, leaving an uncluttered space inside. 

The Underwriting Room is the central point of the building and also contains the Lutine Bell.  The Lutine Bell was recovered from HMS Lutine in 1779 and the bell was traditionally struck when news of an overdue ship arrived - once for the loss of a ship (bad news) and twice for her return (good news).  When a ship is declared as a total loss, this is recorded in the Loss Book. 

Whilst the bell is rarely rung now (except for VIP visits) the Loss Book is still used to keep records of the commercial ships lost at sea.  It is at Lloyd's that you can find the record confirming the total loss of the Titanic, which sank 100 years ago this April.  In the not-too-distant future, you will be able to see records of the recently-capsized Costa Concordia too.

Nowadays, it's not only ships that are insured at Lloyd's.  Whilst Lloyd's began with marine insurance back in 1668, it now concentrates on specialist insurance. Cover can be provided for celebrity body parts, livestock, and even space.  Marine insurance is still a big part of Lloyd's, taking up 7% of its business (representing a third of marine transportation worldwide).  Aviation takes up 3% of business at Lloyd's and whilst that doesn't sound like a big figure, if Lloyd's were to stop insuring aviation, within 24 hours flights across the world would be cancelled.

All in all, Lloyd's of London is one of the most important buildings in the world.

To find out more about Lloyd's of London click here

To read a case study of someone who works at Lloyd's of London click here  

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