AXIS Exits Property Reinsurance to Focus on Specialty; Leadership Team Restructured

June 9, 2022 by L.S. Howard
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AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd. announced it has completed the shift of AXIS Re from property reinsurance to focus instead on casualty, specialty, accident and health, and credit lines.

With the refocus of AXIS Re, AXIS Re CEO Steve Arora will leave at the end of the year, following nearly five years with the company. He will be replaced by Ann Haugh. The company also announced that Vince Tizzio, who joined AXIS in January, has been appointed CEO Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance.

In a market commentary, Wells Fargo Securities said this appointment sets up Tizzio to be the next CEO of AXIS with Albert Benchimol’s contract due to expire at the end of 2023.

AXIS Re said it will honor all multiyear treaties and outstanding quotes but will no longer consider new property and catastrophe reinsurance business.

The move has settled market rumors in April that the company was selling its reinsurance business.

The Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance business’ core divisions include Wholesale, International, Financial Lines, Accident & Health, and Cyber, as well as AXIS Re.

“We are simplifying our organizational structure and aligning our resources to advance leadership in specialty underwriting. This is part of a multi-year effort to build on the significant progress AXIS has made to generate consistent profitable results, reduce earnings volatility and grow a stronger overall book of business, all with an eye toward better serving customers and providing increased value to our shareholders,” said Benchimol, president and CEO of AXIS Capital, in a statement.

“The decision to close our Property Reinsurance business was not taken lightly and was driven by the significant and increasing effects of climate change and the challenges faced by the catastrophe reinsurance market. We are committed to doing all we can to help enable a smooth transition for our colleagues and partners who will be impacted by the change,” Benchimol added.

Wells Fargo Securities noted that AXIS’ multiyear covers are only around $70 million as compared to the $543 million of gross premiums written over the prior 12 months.

“[AXIS] is targeting for around 75 percent of its business to come from the insurance and 25 percent from reinsurance,” added Wells Fargo.

“We have completed the refocusing of the reinsurance business to align with our overarching goal of being a leading specialist reinsurer. With these actions, we provide clarity on AXIS Re’s long-term risk appetite, the sustainability and predictability of our approach, and our go-forward priorities,” said the new AXIS Re CEO Haugh. “We look to the future with a strong commitment to the casualty, specialty, A&H, and credit markets, and look forward to partnering closely with brokers and clients as we begin this new chapter.”

Focus on Specialty Space

“Vince is a proven leader who has a deep and expansive understanding of the evolving needs of our customers, and the trends that are reshaping the Specialty space,” said Benchimol. “Under Vince’s direction, we will lead a globally integrated approach to drive growth in our key markets, expand our product pipeline and further enhance the service that we provide to customers.”

AXIS said it will introduce new products, ranging in size and complexity of risk profile, to meet the diverse needs of the global specialty market including new offerings specifically designed for small-to-midsize businesses.

AXIS also announced it has named Linda Ventresca as head of Digital, reporting to Tizzio. In this role, she will identify and guide the delivery of various digitized solutions across the business, while expanding solutions for small-to-midsize enterprises.

Her team will, in partnership with underwriting divisions, further enhance the customer experience, meet distribution partners’ evolving needs, and unlock new avenues for profitable growth. Ventresca will continue to oversee AXIS Digital Ventures, the company’s partnership and venture arm. She has held multiple senior leadership roles during her 19 years with the company, most recently serving as chief strategy officer.

Benchimol thanked Arora for leading the transformation of AXIS Re into a specialist reinsurer.

“With that reshaping now successfully completed, we understand that it is the right time for him to pursue his next venture. We have deep appreciation for everything he has done for our company and wish him great success,” said Benchimol.