It has now been a year since the CII completed the move from Aldermanbury to Lombard Street, leaving the historic building which had housed us since 1936. The decision to move was not an easy one to make considering that the CII is proud of its place within the history of London’s insurance profession, but one year on we feel that the move has been a really positive change.
In keeping with society, the insurance profession continues to evolve with increasing rapidity. As a professional body, it is important that the CII keeps up in order to meet our commitment of being modern, relevant, and diverse. Our Aldermanbury building was not best suited to these commitments. We wanted an open and collaborative environment, one which enabled the free flow of ideas across departments and promoted innovation.
Moving also made it easier for us to update our core systems and be more flexible technologically than was possible in a Grade II listed heritage building like Aldermanbury.
The new Lombard Street location is a contemporary, fully functional and modern office space which allows us to continue to welcome our members while helping us to overcome some key operational challenges facing our old office. What’s more, moving to a more contemporary office setup meant that we were able to adopt modern working practices. Utilising an “anywhere, anytime” policy has seen productivity increase, while also broadening the options and opportunities available to our colleagues.
That said, the CII is mindful of the importance of history. For this reason, we were very glad to see the ownership of Aldermanbury pass to the City of London Corporation, who are committed to maintaining and protecting the heritage of the City. The historic Great Hall will be refurbished, and when it reopens the CII has a memorandum of understanding with the City of London to us first option on an agreed number of days of use, for itself, its sister bodies and the wider profession.
We understand that it’s important to remember where you came from in order to fully understand where you are going. As such, the wealth of knowledge contained within the CII’s archives has undergone extensive digitalisation which we have made available to our members via the website, https://insurancehistory.cii.co.uk/ and which we will continue to update. We have also provided initial seed funding for a project which seeks to open a history of insurance museum in the City. This can help form part of the full narrative of the role the insurance profession has played in the history of the City of London, and society.
While reflecting on its past heritage, the CII is optimistic about the future. This first year gave promising insight of what’s to come, for both the profession, and the people who make it up. The insurance profession has always been prepared to change, today representing almost 400,000 jobs, in a story which began with the opening of a coffee house in 1686, located just next door to where the CII now stands, on Lombard Street.