Obituary: AXIS pay tribute to their colleague and friend Toby Ducker


Toby Ducker 1972 – 2023 

Respected as a talented leader by colleagues and friends across the insurance industry, Toby Ducker, who passed away in May, is remembered for the warmth of his personality, humour, and drive for excellence in all that he turned his hand to.

Toby was well known across the London and international insurance markets as a leader

whose commitment to excellence set him apart professionally as it did in his personal life. As Head of International Operations at AXIS since 2019, Toby helped the company to develop its infrastructure and to deliver improved performance throughout a time of significant growth in London and beyond.

Toby’s career in insurance began in 2002 when he joined Brit Insurance. Quickly trusted and recognised for his energetic style and ability, Toby spent 10 years at the carrier, leading change and financial transformation projects in a variety of roles. He went on to serve in operations roles at insurance, investment and consultancy organizations including Anacap, Risk Dynamics, Minova, Duwi, and Cardif Pinnacle before joining AXIS.

AXIS Head of Global Markets, Mark Gregory, who worked closely with Toby, described him as a wonderful colleague, extremely loyal to his team, hard-working, kind and considerate. “Toby made a massive contribution to the firm,” commented Mark. “We particularly miss Toby’s cheery disposition, his contagious chuckle, his willingness to help resolve any problem, and his energy and enthusiasm for our business.”

In addition to his busy family life and career, Toby was a keen advocate for the National Youth Agency, the charitable organization set up as the statutory body to oversee youth work in England. Toby originally got involved with the NYA when he joined the board of trustees as their chair of finance from 2016. He formally took over as chair of the board in November 2022.

In these roles he is credited by the association’s leadership for returning the NYA to healthy financial and operational footing following a period of hardship after a cut to its funding in 2012. Described by Leigh Middleton, CEO of the NYA, as the “life and soul” of its board, Toby led the drive to modernise the NYA's finances, and deliver it back to stable financial health.

“Toby used his risk management experience within the insurance sector to help transform how we assessed its level of risk (he would say 'risk appetite'), and his leadership gave the board confidence to invest and support our transformation,” said Leigh. “The youth sector and the NYA have had to radically change due to politics, funding and Covid-19, but we were able to be bold in these tricky times thanks to Toby's confidence in us.”

In his own younger years, Toby grew up with his sisters Lucie and Camilla in Twickenham, where he attended Orleans Infants School and then St Stephen’s Junior School, also becoming a chorister at the local church.

In 1983, Toby started at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, where he rowed for the school and played competitive bridge at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club. After school, Toby travelled across the United States and Canada with his great friend before joining Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to read economics. At Cambridge, he also found his love of the tech side of amateur dramatics and was key to many productions there and also later at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

A wanderlust and sense of adventure established, with his own young family years later, Toby enjoyed regular family outings and increasingly adventurous holidays as travel became easier as his children grew older. Keenly involved in trips and activities within his community in Surrey, and passionate about music of many genres, of learning and a good debate, Toby lived life to the full and put his all into everything he valued and held dear. He balanced his intelligence with strong values, integrity, and kindness; qualities that were evident in plenty to his family, friends and colleagues. 

Toby leaves behind his wife Emma and two children, Isabelle and Joshua, along with many friends.

His passing at just 51 cuts short the life of a man who made a lasting impression on so many but who had so much zeal and passion for what was to come. In Toby’s memory, his family is encouraging donations to the NYA HERE


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