It was designed by architect Richard Rogers and built between 1978 and 1986. Bovis was the management contractor for the scheme. Like the Pompidou Centre (designed by Renzo Piano and Rogers), the building was innovative in having its services such as staircases, lifts, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the outside, leaving an uncluttered space inside. The twelve glass lifts were the first of their kind in the UK.
The building consists of three main towers and three service towers around a central, rectangular space. Its focal point is the large Underwriting Room on the ground floor, which houses the famous Lutine Bell. The Underwriting Room (often simply known as 'the Room') is overlooked by galleries, forming a 60 metres (197 ft) high atrium lit naturally through a huge barrel-vaulted glass roof. The first four galleries open onto the atrium space, and are connected by escalators through the middle of the structure. The higher floors are glassed-in, and can only be reached via the outside lifts.
The 11th floor houses the Committee Room, an 18th century dining-room designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne by Robert Adam in 1763: it was transferred piece-by-piece from the previous (1958) Lloyd's building across the road.
The first Lloyd's building (12 Leadenhall Street) was built on this site in 1928. In 1958, due to expansion, a second new building was constructed across the road at 51 Lime Street. In 1978, again due to the prospect of overcrowding, Lloyd's commissioned Richard Rogers to redevelop the site and the original 1928 building was demolished to make way for the present one which was opened by HM The Queen in 1986. However, its main entrance at 12 Leadenhall Street was preserved, and forms a rather incongruous attachment to the 1986 structure. Demolition of the 1958 building commenced in 2004 to make way for the Willis Building, a new 26 storey tower and ten storey building at 51 Lime Street.The Lloyd's Building is 88 metres (289 ft) to the roof, with 14 floors. Above it stand the construction cranes that have been kept in place as decoration pushing the height to 95.10 metres (312 ft). Modular in plan, each floor can be altered with the addition or removal of partitions and walls.
In 2008, The Twentieth Century Society called for the building to be Grade I listed. The building is owned by Dublin-based real estate firm Shelbourne Development group, who purchased the building in 2004 from a German investment bank.