The insurer has taken underwriters from Farmweb, Aviva and UK General

AXA has made three senior underwriting appointments in Scotland as it expands into the agricultural sector and plots to strengthen its underwriting division in the North East region.

Stuart Payne, who has joined from Farmweb, has been appointed as development underwriter, agriculture. He will be responsible for developing AXA’s distribution strategy for the agricultural sector in Scotland.

Payne has over 20 years’ experience in agricultural insurance having held senior underwriting roles at both Rural Insurance and AIUA.

Lindsay Kessack has also joined as development underwriter, North East following a 20-year career at Aviva.

Based in Aberdeen, Kessack will manage relationships with a panel of brokers across the North East of Scotland.

Liz Stanners joins AXA as senior underwriter, new business, from UK General where she was regional underwriting manager.

Stanners, who starts in October, will oversee the development of AXA Scotland’s new business strategy to ensure that appetite and expertise reflect market demand.

The appointments are part of a wider recruitment drive to underwrite new classes of business and move all Scottish broker relations north of the border.

This means that Scottish brokers, that had dealt with AXA’s call centre in Bolton, will be entirely serviced in Scotland and it will be the first time that AXA insures farms there.

AXA Scotland branch manager Ryan Birbeck had previously said the larger team would help AXA reach its target of growing gross written premium in Scotland by 13% while maintaining profitability.

“We have excellent relationships with brokers across Scotland but we want to expand our appetite and geographical reach and securing the services of Stuart, Lindsay and Liz is a huge step forward in achieving that,” Birbeck said.

AXA commercial intermediary managing director Jon Walker added: “This is the first phase in a significant investment programme in our Scottish branch and we will continue to develop our own talent and attract talent from the market as we deliver on our exciting growth plans in Scotland.”