Stewart Edward Cox OAM


A stalwart of the insurance industry with a career spanning over 46 years, Stewart was a tireless professional and passionate supporter of the Northern Territory community at large.

Starting his insurance career in 1972 as an insurance clerk, in 1991, Stewart joined forces with two partners to launch Zuellig Insurance Brokers. Under his guidance, Zuellig grew to become the leading and largest insurance broking firm in the Territory. Sold to OAMPs and then Gallagher, Stewart remained at the helm in the Northern Territory helping clients and mentoring his loyal team.

Stewart’s legacy to the insurance industry not only in the Territory but also throughout Australia was his expertise, his mentoring skills, his dedication to his position, clients and staff and his willingness to share his vast wealth of knowledge.

An avid sports and hockey enthusiast, Stewart became actively involved wherever he could, holding many official positions in sporting clubs and professional associations throughout the Territory. Stewart was awarded OAM in 2007 for “Service to the community of the Northern Territory through a range of sporting and civic organisations, and to the insurance industry.”

Stewart was a stalwart of the Insurance Industry who passed on the 21stNovember 2018 after a two and a half year battle against cancer and worked valiantly right to the last.

The Stewart Cox Memorial Award has been created to recognise the vast contribution Stewart made to the insurance industry Australia wide and the wider community in general. He was awarded an OAM in 2007 for;

“Service to the community of the Northern Territory through a range of sporting and civic organisations, and to the insurance industry.”

Stewart Edward Cox was born in Mount Isa, Queensland on the 30thJune 1952. In 1954, Stewart moved with his father George, mother Edna, brothers Lionel, Malcolm and Les, to the Northern Territory where they took up temporary residence at the small mining town of Rum Jungle and then onto the nearby town of Batchelor.

With his three brothers, Stewart was educated at Batchelor Primary School until he moved to Darwin to board with a local family in order to complete his schooling at Darwin High. He obtained his leaving certificate in 1969 before returning to work in Batchelor as a diamond driller for CRA where he worked until he was retrenched in 1971. During this time, Stewart spent most Saturday nights manning the movie reels for the local picture theatre at the Batchelor Sports Club.

Stewart commenced his insurance career as an insurance clerk, joining the Royal Insurance Company in 1972 remaining there until 1975. After Cyclone Tracy, Stewart lived in the rear of the office spending his days assessing and finalising the many claims brought about by the cyclone. Royal Insurance closed in the Territory late in 1975 and Stewart was offered a transfer to Brisbane or Adelaide which he declined wishing to remain in the Territory.

Over the following years, Stewart held various positions within the insurance industry including Assistant Manager, NT Sales Manager and Director of NT & PNG. Companies that Stewart contributed to include;

  • Vanguard
  • QBE Insurance
  • Baillieu Bowring Marsh & McLennan

Stewart then took up a role with Bain Clarkson/Lambert Bain Insurance Brokers, later named Bain Dawes, as their Executive Director of NT & PNG and was appointed to the Australian Board of Insurance Companies.

He then moved to Lowndes Lambert until 1991, when with two southern partners and an overseas company he started Zuellig Insurance Brokers, an Australian wide insurance broking firm. Conscious wit the level of service to be afforded to Territory clients, Stewart insisted an office was opened in both Darwin and Alice Springs.

Zuellig Insurance Brokers NT won the 1994 Commercial Business of the Year Award run by the Darwin City Business Association after only three years of operation. The Australian operation was positioned at number 15 in the Australian insurance broking industry.  Within a couple of years, Zuellig was positioned at number ten with in excess of 1,000 licensed insurance broking operations in Australia. Zuellig was the leading and largest insurance broking firm in the Territory. This was due to Stewart’s dedication and professionalism both within the industry and with his clients.

In 2005 Zuellig, or ZIB as it became after the Australian partners bought out the international partner in 2003, sold to OAMPS Insurance Brokers and Stewart remained as Managing Director NT. OAMPS later sold to AJ Gallagher with Stewart maintaining his position at the helm of the NT. He remained in this position working tirelessly for his valued and loyal clients, many of whom had remained with him for many years. Stewart maintained his dedication even working from his chemo chair at Alan Walker Cancer Clinic and then from his bed at the hospice. He was still setting up deals and endeavouring to help not only his clients but his loyal staff.

One of Stewart’s great talents was as a mentor to his staff, some of whom have been with him for over thirty years, gaining him a loyalty seldom found in the workplace of today.

Stewart was a Fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association, Associate of the Institute of Management and a Member of the Insurance Institute. He has held a number of positions with these organisations throughout the years.

Stewart’s legacy to the insurance industry not only in the Territory but also throughout Australia was his expertise, his mentoring skills, his dedication to his position, clients and staff and his willingness to share not only his knowledge but any rewards that came his way.

Stewart loved sport, and as only Stewart could, wasn’t content to just play but gave back by becoming involved in the administration aside wherever he could, holding many official positions in sporting clubs and professional associations throughout the Territory.

Stewart had a long association with hockey starting from the age of seven at Rum Jungle. He eventually joined the Banks Hockey Club in Darwin and on completion of his final high school year in 1969 at the age of 17, he took on the position of Bank’s Treasurer, a position in which he served for sixteen years until 1985. Banks became one of the most financial hockey clubs in Darwin and much of this was attributed to the work undertaken by Stewart during this time. In recognition of his dedicated efforts Stewart was made a Life Member of the Banks Hockey Club in 1980.

In 1985 Stewart was elected President of the Northern Territory Hockey Association and served in this position for eight years until 1983, making him the longest serving president in the history of the Northern Territory Hockey Association at the time.

Stewart was a leader and one of the prime movers in establishing hockey as not only a major sport in the Northern Territory but as one of the most forward thinking, dynamic and proactive NT sporting organisations. He worked  tirelessly throughout 1985/86 to establish the world class astro-turf hockey venue which exists today.

Stewart’s management skills and dedication to the sport underpinned his being voted Sports Administrator of the Year (NT) in 1988 and in 1994 was awarded Life Membership of the NT Hockey Association. At Stewart’s presentation then Patron of NT Hockey, Keith Kemp, said;

“During his time in office Stewart nurtured the growth of a fledgling association and through his initiatives, has brought about the staging of national and international events that, at an earlier time would have been unthinkable. Stewart may reflect with pride on the performances of Territory teams at national championships. The outstanding achievements of those players, coaches and umpires, chosen to represent Australia at international level and the acceptance of a Northern Territory women’s team into the National Hockey League…all during his term in office!”

During 1991/92 Stewart was invited onto the Australian Hockey Association’s Board of Management, the first ever Territory Hockey official to occupy a position at this level.

Stewart gave up playing hockey around 1980 due to injury and major surgery on both his knees. He did not however give up umpiring. He was an accredited Northern Territory State ‘A’ badged umpire and continued to support the association through umpiring for many years before he was forced to retire due to this knee injuries.

Continuing his love for sport Stewart became a Member of the Arafura Games Coordinating Committee and was a Committee Member of the NT Sports Awards.

From 1997 to 1999 Stewart took on the role as Vice Chairman of the Darwin Turf Club negotiating its future with the NT Government in preparation of the sale of the NT TAB. Stewart was instrumental in these negotiations and spent many hours ensuring the best interests of the club were met. IN 2004 Stewart took on the inaugural role of Northern Territory Racing Principal Club Chairman.

Stewart was a founding member of the Carbine Club of Northern Territory and became the Treasurer in 1993/94, Vice President in 1995 and President in 1997 to 1999. Following this he served on the general committee as Immediate Past President.

He sat on the Board of Northern Territory Major Events and spent a number of years as a Rotarian before having to withdraw due to business and family commitments. He is a founding member of the Government House Foundation, a foundation aimed at raising funds for the restoration of Government House.

In 2010 Stewart took up the position of President, Golf NT. A position he had intended to take for a year. Eight years later he was forced to resign due to his illness.

Stewart was a firm believer in supporting junior sport, his children having played hockey and basketball, some at NT representative level.

Through his company, Zuellig Insurance Brokers, Stewart financially supported, by way of sponsorship for many years, not only major sporting associations in the Territory but also smaller clubs, individuals and juniors such as;

  • NT Football Association – NT juniors
  • Darwin Turf Club
  • Alice Springs Turf Club
  • Australian Rugby League – visiting teams
  • NT/Darwin Rugby League
  • Men’s and Women’s Touch Football Teams
  • Motor Racing
  • Alice Springs Football Association
  • NT Hockey Association
  • NT Soccer Federation
  • Darwin Golf Club

Over the years Stewart has received many awards recognising his achievements and dedication and support on both professional and sporting arenas.

In 1972, Stewart first married at the age of 20 and had two beautiful children Michael and Robyn. After his marriage faltered, Stewart met Marian in 1985 and started their new life together, becoming the beloved step father of two more beautiful children, Angie and Juanito.

Over these years the four children he loved so much brought more love and happiness into the family through their marriages and partnerships. These unions provided much loved grandchildren Jess, Haiden, Kaleb, Braedon, Chloe, Sam, Jamie, Archer, Graci, Connor, Lara, Charlie and Chaise as well as great grandchildren, Kayleigh, Jack, Logan and Ash.

Stewart knew how to have a good time, loved a red wine and all sports, especially his beloved Hawthorn. He couldn’t hold a tune but often tried anyway!

Stewart could be what some considered a workaholic. His and Marian’s first overseas trip as empty nesters was definitely for only three weeks! Three months later his partners were asking if he was returning. From then on travel was high on their list of things to do and they travelled extensively prior to Stewart’s illness.

In May 2016, Stewart was diagnosed with lung cancer and from that time on stoically took up the battle with dignity and grace, never losing his sense of humour right to the end.

His sense of humour and fun shone through even during his last bed ridden days. He fought a hard fight for two and a half years, still working even from home when he was too tired to get into the office and then from the hospice where he and Marian resided for six weeks. During this time, Stewart found time to support others suffering a similar fate.

Stewart not only tolerated the chemo and immunotherapy uncomplaining but also changed his diet, gave up drinking except for red wine (supposedly no more than two glasses a day for which Dr Michael said he’d write a prescription if there were any objections from the home front) and took the many natural therapies, including pawpaw leaf juice which he said tasted disgusting but still made all the kids have a sip.

During his stay in hospice Stewart maintained control of his life keeping the doctors and nurses on their toes by reaching for his little red book in which he had religiously recorded his illness progress over the years and entering every drug name, which the doctors and nurses had to spell out for him to ensure he got it right and every change of dosage being administered to him.

Stewart entered the hospice on the hope of returning home, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Four weeks into his stay he received the news that the cancer was winning the war.

On 21st November 2018 with his family by his side, Stewart found peace and started his next journey taking with him his family’s everlasting love as his companion and leaving behind many memories of a very special man and a giant sized hole in their hearts.

Stewart will be sadly missed by many and the Territory has lost a fierce supporter.

Stewart’s body will rest with his father at Darwin General Cemetery, but his spirit cannot be buried nor the love he left behind.