British Insurance Awards 2019: Achievement Award - Annette Court

Achievement Award

Winner: Annette Court


The winner of the 2019 Achievement Award, Annette Court began her career at IBM, working 11 years before joining one of her clients, Direct Line in 1994.

Here she helped shape this game-changing business; overseeing its transformation from an upstart teenager to innovative twenty something, and becoming CEO of Direct Line Group in 2001 at the age of 39.

She also became a member of parent RBS’s group executive committee and led the acquisition of Churchill insurance in 2003, forming RBS Insurance, with a workforce of 18,000 people across the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Annette subsequently took on a wider international remit in 2007 as CEO of Zurich’s European general insurance business spanning 11 countries.

At the time she told Post a major draw at Zurich was its wider international remit and working for an insurer as opposed to a bank. “Insurance is at this company’s heart and that was an attraction. I’m delighted I made the decision.”

Since leaving Zurich Annette held a number of high profile board positions including JLT and Admiral, where she is the current chair.

She has also sat on the Association of British Insurers board, is an ambassador for the Insurance Super Club and has passed on her expertise to others in the industry as a mentor with Merryck & Co.

It is perhaps fitting that having handed out the inaugral achievement award to Direct Line founder Peter Wood at the first BIA, the event has come full circle with someone else steeped in the world of the red phone in 2019.

Annette is a very private and unassuming individual. But as well as intelligence and experience, she’s a tough cookie, thriving in hard environments. She graduated in engineering at Oxford, to do personal lines at Direct Line and then a commercial/global/personal role across EMEA at Zurich; and has continued this eclectic approach as a non-executive director at Admiral, JLT, Foxtons and Workshare.
BIA judge and former Zurich colleague David Smith
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