Kirsty Walker to join agricultural underwriting agency in April

Man woman handshake

Agricultural underwriting agency Rural has hired former AXA executive Kirsty Walker as commercial director – a newly created role.

She was previously managing director of partnerships, distribution and lifestyle at AXA, a role she held since 2011. She joined AXA in 1998, having started her career at Eagle Star.

Walker will start her new role at Rural in April and report to Rural managing director Ian Barclay.

Barclay said: “Kirsty is a highly experienced operator and her appointment is a coup for Rural. As commercial director she will have overall responsibility for our regional sales managers, development underwriters and all the office-based underwriting teams.”

Barclay said that this was his first senior hire since Rural Insurance was split from UK General in 2015’s restructuring. The restructuring saw all UK General’s units established as standalone entities.

He added: “Our recent decoupling from UK General enables us to build the specific skills, capabilities and servicing model that Rural requires for further success within this very specialist market. Kirsty’s introduction to the business is a key development in supporting that strategy.

“By aligning these core functions under Kirsty will improve service to our trading partners, enabling brokers to get quicker decisions, and receive a more efficient and effective all-round trading experience.”

Walker said: “Rural Insurance is very well-placed to take advantage with ambitious plans to become number two in the insurance sector. I am looking forward to playing an active role in meeting that ambition.”