Acuity Fronts Major Insurance Underwriters


Acuity, the Axis Group’s front-of-house division, is providing professional reception and meeting room management services at the London headquarters of Antares Underwriting, an independent Managing Agent at Lloyd’s.


Antares’s moved its head office to 21 Lime street last year and now occupies seven floors of the 32,000 sq ft development adjacent to Leadenhall Market. Acuity provides a Reception Manager, a Receptionist, and also a Business Lounge Manager to manage the meeting areas on the top-floor business suite.

Antares outsourced its reception duties prior to the move to its new headquarters. Issues with significant levels of absenteeism with its previous team of directly employed receptionists led Head of FM Nigel Cole to look for a better alternative: “Our reliance on agency staff was disruptive, expensive, and did not provide our internal and external customers with a best-in-class service,” he says. “We wanted a reception team who could truly support our underwriters and help present an extremely professional face to visitors and callers.”

Nigel chose to outsource and invited discussions with some of the larger providers but got the impression he would have to fit into step with how they operated. “Then we spoke with Acuity who seemed to be very focused on delivering a professional service that was tailored to our needs, rather than simply giving us what they could provide.”

Working with Antares ahead of the move gave Acuity a greater insight into how the reception, meetings rooms and business suite could best be managed. This included creating visitor journeys to ensure that visitors are seamlessly looked after.

“It is imperative to use the space we have as best as we can,” Nigel continues. “and Acuity helped us do that with the business suite and our Business Lounge Manager co-ordinates all the meeting room bookings, receives visitors, sets up and breaks down meeting rooms to ensure that they are ready for any internal or external guests.”

The Acuity team have all been recruited in collaboration with Nigel and his team to ensure the right fit with the business. They wear high quality uniforms and are given regular training to provide them with the skills to deliver a world class reception service. All cover staff are also trained on site to minimise disruption and to maintain consistency of the professional service the team provides. Indeed Nigel commented that “having a reserve of fully trained substitute staff already familiar with our business, ready to come in for planned and unplanned absences, is an absolutely key benefit to our business.”

Neil Ames, Director for Acuity, says that Acuity’s outsourced service outperforms the ‘traditional’ approach to directly employing reception personnel: “We know that we can save businesses money by reducing the spend on temporary cover but, through our selection process and professional training, we can also ensure that businesses experience all the benefit of having high end, five-star reception services with the support of our head office team. Antares is proving to be the perfect example of this.”

Nigel agrees that the level of professionalism has increased significantly since working with Acuity: “We now have the five-star service that we expect and a team that takes pride in what it does. The handover from night guards to the reception – and vice versa – is now much easier without the challenge of absenteeism and the integration between the two teams is very helpful for the smooth operation of the building.

“I would certainly recommend Acuity to similar businesses who want to experience the benefits of outsourced reception services. It is working very well for us and we are enjoying the back up of an expert operation that Acuity is able to provide,” Nigel concludes.

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