Diary of an Insurer: Axa Commercial's Sarah Mallaby

Diary of an insurer logo

Sarah Mallaby, distribution and trading director of Axa Commercial, prepares for the Biba conference, the British Insurance Awards and gets ready to launch new propositions in SME and motor trade.

Sarah Mallaby


I start my week working from home. My first task is to finalise my presentation for next week’s senior leader event where we’re bringing the leadership team together in Manchester.

I’m looking forward to celebrating the successes of 2022 and discussing our plans for 2023. We need to hit the ground running on our strategy to achieve profitable growth throughout the year, which includes launching new propositions in SME and motor trade and looking for interesting schemes.

Getting everyone on the same page from the start is really important so I’m keen to get my presentation spot on.

Next up is a check in with our transformation change board. Our three-year transformation programme is starting to deliver with many systems and processes revamped for increased efficiency.

We’re now turning our attention to our combined and motor trade products and the ways we can improve them. In the coming months they will be updated to enable more digital documents, pricing sophistication and automation of data entry.

This is particularly exciting for our underwriters as these improvements take away some of the administrative tasks to allow time to be reallocated to valuable activity such as underwriting risks or trading and meeting brokers.



I’m in the office today and after a short commute from Twickenham, I start the day with a quick huddle with the London commercial team. We discuss results, plans and check in on how everyone is feeling as we start the new year.

The rest of my day is spent with brokers, kicking off our joint plans for 2023 and discussing industry-wide issues such as claims inflation and how to support customers from the impact on their renewals, especially in fleet and property.

We also chat about our new broker learning programmes. These include women in finance events, broker passports for new entrants to insurance and an exciting future leaders development programme for brokers and Axa colleagues.

Hopefully we’ll see a few of them on our flagship broker leadership programme in Bordeaux in years to come.

I finish the day with a strategic partner meeting and dinner in the City. 



Today is busy with broker catch-ups across the City but I start the day with a quick call to welcome Mark Ellison, Axa Commercial’s new branch manager in Manchester.

He has extensive experience of this market as well as strong leadership and change management skills which I hope will continue to push our Manchester branch to be the market leader in the region.

I have a call with the marketing team to discuss our campaigns for 2023, including plans for the British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference in May.

This includes designing a new stand, planning our social events, and crafting our key messages around climate, financial lines and new propositions.

It’s a good opportunity to be really creative and explore the best ways to highlight all the great things Axa has to offer.

I also review which categories we can enter into the Insurance Post British Insurance Awards. We have lots of good initiatives to enter across the board.

My final meeting of the day is with our commercial claims team. I get to hear about the progress they’ve made on our claims transformation. The initiatives are delivering improvements to our customer service in property and casualty. It’s great to hear some customer testimonials and also find out about some big fraud wins from 2022.

I’m leaving early today as its parents’ evening for my 14-year-old. I’m hoping for similarly great updates on this as I got from our claims team.



I visit our Maidstone branch today. They are a relatively new team but they had great success last year, delivering over 20% growth.

It’s really rewarding to spend time with the team, listening to their plans and finding out about the local market trading opportunities.

We finish the day with belated Christmas drinks which were moved due to the train strikes at the end of last year.

Climate change


Working from home, I join a broker meeting to discuss Axa’s Sustainable Buildings report, produced as part of our work on climate change.

Having these future-looking conversations are really enriching and educational and my aim is to make more time for them this year.

My final meeting of the week is to meet with our HR team to discuss our diversity and inclusion networks.

Axa has five networks which cover disability, gender equality, carers, LGBTQ+ and ethnicity. We’re looking at the activities they have planned this year and I’d like to get Axa Commercial and our broker partners more involved.

We also get to review and select our Q4 winners of our Values in Practice award, which highlights colleagues who truly live by the Axa values.

There are some inspiring examples from colleagues who have shown great courage, integrity, collaboration or gone above and beyond for our customers, so making a decision proves quite tricky.

I have the pleasure of calling each winner to congratulate and thank them. I end the week on a high doing this before I log-off for the weekend.

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact info@postonline.co.uk or view our subscription options here: http://subscriptions.postonline.co.uk/subscribe

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact info@postonline.co.uk to find out more.

Q&A: Marc Lewis, Ecclesiastical

Marc Lewis, underwriting director for the UK for Ecclesiastical, reveals how the insurer is embracing artificial intelligence plus its plans to grow the casualty business.

Insurers face margin crush unless premiums are hiked

Data analysis: A sustainable margin recovery looks increasingly challenging for insurers with premiums needing to increase in real terms to prevent any erosion after a tripling of costs to 10.9% of premiums last year from 3.5% in 2022.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Post account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an individual account here