Industry pays tribute to 2019 BIA Achievement Award winner Annette Court

Annette Court

On Wednesday night Admiral chair Annette Court won the Achievement Award at The British Insurance Awards.

Court’s prestigious career in insurance included a stint as CEO of Direct Line, and then Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance following the merger with Churchill.

She then moved to Zurich as the CEO of their European general insurance business spanning 11 countries across the continent.

More recently Court, pictured, has pursued a portfolio career as a non-executive director of Admiral Insurance, Jardine Lloyd Thomson group, alongside non-insurance organisations. She is also a leadership mentor with Merryck & Co.

BIA judge and former Zurich colleague David Smith said: “Annette is a very private and unassuming individual. But as well as obvious intelligence and experience, she’s a tough cookie, thriving in hard environments under [former CEO] Fred Goodwin at Royal Bank of Scotland and [ex-European chair] Dieter Wemmer at Zurich.

“Annette is not afraid to move out of her comfort zone; highlighted by the fact 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.

“In summary Annette is one of the quiet people of the industry who has made her noise by achieving success in a variety of different environments before diversity was so high profile.” 

Fellow judge, Barbara Schönhofer MBE, CEO of Schonhofer and founder of the Insurance Supper Club, added: “I have known Annette for over a decade. My knowledge of her is in my career advisory and ISC capacity.  She is always receptive, thoughtful and fair in her approach and will take and receive advice.  Her style is well balance and unpretentious.

“I have found in my dealings with Annette she sets herself and others high standards.  Following her swift early ascent to success in her executive career she chose to move into a portfolio career as a non- executive director and coach.  I was concerned at the time we might be losing a highly able female business leader in her prime from the market, however my fears proved unfounded as Annette has remained deeply involved in the industry.  She quickly develop a strong profile in her portfolio career becoming a FTSE chairman in the sector and has remained throughout a longstanding member, supporter and ISC Ambassador.”  

Schönhofer continued: “As a role model, mentor, coach and sponsor, for us women, she has always been generous with her time in supporting our leadership aspirations.  She seeks to be inclusive in all her roles across the industry and has remained steadfast in her belief in the power of meritocracy.  

“A discreet friend who is highly supportive of women and men in making the industry a more welcoming working environment for all.  A great inspiration to all interested in sustainable change that unlocks talent and promotes trust to deliver commercial results.”

Admiral group CEO David Stevens concluded: “A great chair is at one moment flying high, challenging the executives on strategy and long-term direction, at another helping us think through a particular knotty people problem.

“Annette knows both the industry and knows Admiral inside out which means she can add huge value discussing the big picture and diving into the detail.”

  • LinkedIn  
  • Save this article
  • Print this page  

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: