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Insurer's new office comes with honey of a bonus

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There's a real buzz around Hiscox Ltd.'s office in York, England — caused by the arrival of two colonies of bees.

The insurer and reinsurer opened an office in the historic northern English city in December and this week announced it had installed the bee colonies on the roof on the building.

The colonies will produce about 120,000 bees by the summer, which will be cared for by a team of Hiscox staff volunteers — “workers,” perhaps? — who undertook 10 hours of practical training to prepare for the arrival of their new, winged office mates.

Of course, being in the risk business, Hiscox made sure that safety systems are in place to ensure there's no sting in the tale.

“We are keen not only to increase the bee population here in York for pollination, but also to encourage Hiscox staff to promote bee-friendly planting in their own gardens,” said Edward Pop, Hiscox' apiary consultant.

And keeping bees can help reduce the risk of food shortages, he explained — “90% of food worldwide is provided by just 100 crop species, and 71 of these are dependent on honey bees for pollination, so the serious decline in honey bees in the U.K. is a threat to future food supplies.”