Global insurtech firm to relocate to new innovation cluster

Bruntwood SciTech will welcome insurance and insurtech firms, QBE, to its new city centre workspace – West Village, in Leeds.

Australian-headquartered QBE, which has operations across 27 countries offering commercial, personal and specialty insurance products alongside risk management solutions, will move into three floors of the transformed workspace – totalling 37,000 sq ft.

The move will see QBE relocate and expand its 300-strong employee base from its current base into the heart of the city centre.

It will also create a new home for its robotics centre and technology development hub, where QBE uses robotic process automation to free up employees’ time to focus on delivering greater value for customers.

The firm is poised to conduct the fitting out of its workspace at West Village, which will be delivered by contracting specialist Denton.

Bruntwood SciTech – a joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund – is carrying out a £20m redevelopment at West Village to turn it into a 230,000 sq ft hub where innovation can thrive.

The site will form a key location in Bruntwood SciTech’s Leeds city centre cluster of workspaces for innovation-led businesses, alongside Platform and 14 King Street.

Once finished, West Village will feature a studio operated in partnership with training brand FORM which will host Yoga, Pilates and Barre classes, as well as mindfulness and wellbeing sessions.

There will also be a landscaped central courtyard, communal breakout spaces, a business lounge, the largest cycle storage facility in the city, as well as local independent food and drink pop-ups.

So far, Bruntwood SciTech has pre-let 75% of workspace at West Village, including to Australian fintech firm PEXA and Advisory Insurance Brokers.

Andrew Cooke, regional director – Leeds, Bruntwood SciTech, said: “QBE is one of the world’s leading insurers, so the business’s decision to choose West Village as its hub for technological development is a key deal for the region.

“It also reaffirms West Village as a hub for innovative and evolving businesses and it’s exciting to see we are continuing to succeed in our mission to grow a cluster of high-growth and forward-thinking organisations that will benefit from collaboration and knowledge-sharing with other like-minded firms.”

Nathan Fuller, chief operations officer, QBE Europe, added: “QBE has had a presence in Leeds for over 20 years and our expansion in recent times has been about leveraging the strong local talent base to support us in our technological development, including the establishment of our robotics centre of excellence almost three years ago.

“Moving to West Village is the next chapter in our story with the city, and we are excited to be moving our people to such a prestigious location.”

CBRE’s Occupier Services team in Leeds acted for QBE on the deal.

Charles Parkinson, associate director at the Occupier Services team, said: “It has been great working on this move with QBE over the past 12 months and sees another occupier relocate to a best-in-class building in the city centre, highlighting the business’s goals of finding more sustainable, amenity-rich buildings.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...