AXA story

AXA Debunked: Emily

AXA Debunked - Emily Coupland

Close your eyes and picture a career in the insurance industry. Go on, actually give it a go. 

Did you picture those little office cubicles that you see on TV, or sad grey suits, or someone telling you they want to “touch base offline before COP”?

Emily Coupland has been at AXA for 23 years, and her career has been anything but stereotypical. She’s now the General Counsel for AXA UK & Ireland, as well as the Executive Sponsor for Inclusion & Belonging. We asked her some questions about her career so far and what she thinks about the industry. 

What's your role at AXA, and how long have you been at the company? 
I’m the General Counsel for AXA UK & Ireland. I’ve been in this role for 3 years, but I've been at AXA for 23 years in total. 

Do you think people have an accurate perception of what the insurance industry is like? 
If you told the 20-year-old me that I would work for most of my career in insurance, I would have said ‘don’t be ridiculous’, but I think the 20-year-old me was wrong. We’re privileged to be able to help our customers at times it really matters, working on really interesting projects, interacting with smart and friendly people – what’s not to love? 

So how would you describe the insurance industry? 
At the start of my career at AXA, I was surrounded by white middle-aged men in suits, but that’s now changed. I’m regularly in meetings where women are in the majority, almost no one wears a suit, and I enjoy interacting with people of many different backgrounds. Insurance is now a dynamic and fast-paced industry to work in. It’s transforming to meet the changing demands of its customers, embracing tech and AI. We still love a good bit of jargon though! 

What do you do in your roles? 
No day is the same. As General Counsel, I lead the different teams we have supporting the business, plus our company Secretariat team who supports our companies and corporate governance. I was also lucky enough to be appointed as AXA UK & Ireland’s Inclusion & Belonging Executive Sponsor in September last year. I see this role as being an ally first and foremost, driving change in inclusion and belonging at AXA. I also work very closely with our Employee Networks — they’re a great source of community at AXA. They allow people having similar life experiences to come together to talk and support each other.  

How would you describe the culture at AXA when it comes to inclusion? 
A truly inclusive culture is what we’re striving for at AXA. We want to make sure that our workforce is representative of society, which makes us able to understand the needs of our customers. We believe an inclusive culture makes business sense and better decisions are made through diversity of thought. We want all our colleagues to feel like they belong at AXA and can thrive in their careers bringing their whole selves to work. 

What would you say is one of the most rewarding aspects of your job? 
I love my job – both as the General Counsel and as Executive Sponsor. Being the General Counsel is intellectually stimulating and I get a huge sense of satisfaction supporting the company to achieve its goals. Being the Exec Sponsor feeds my soul – Generation Valuable’s tagline of ‘what business does, society follows’ really resonates with me. I want to live in a world where every person feels included. 


If you want to build an exciting, meaningful career at AXA, keep an eye on our latest vacancies to find a role that’s right for you. Or follow us on LinkedIn to find out more about life at AXA.