AXA’s parametric unit rebrands to AXA Climate, adds new hires

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Global insurance and reinsurance company AXA has rebranded its specialist parametric risk transfer unit to AXA Climate and has also strengthened its team with new hires.

antoine-denoix-axa-climatePreviously called AXA Global Parametrics, the unit is focused on developing a client offering of parametric trigger insurance underwriting and risk transfer solutions, with a focus on weather and climate related exposures.

AXA first launched the unit in 2017 as part of a plan to accelerate the development of parametric insurance solutions at the group and to expand the target offering to include parametric insurance for SMEs and individuals as well.

We spoke with CEO of AXA Climate Antoine Denoix, who has worked at AXA for a number of years, to find out more about the strategy of the rebranded unit.

Antoine Denoix explained the rationale for the new brand, “Our mission, at AXA Climate (formerly AXA Global Parametrics), is to provide immediate protection to communities and businesses against climate risks, through parametric solutions. Parametrics allows us to solve many pain points of the traditional insurance market (speed, transparency, protection gaps). Parametric insurance is a great tool, but it is only a tool. We want to leverage its benefits to help our customers handle the climate challenge (extreme events, weather). That’s why we decided to switch our name from AXA Global Parametrics to AXA Climate.”

The AXA Climate unit will be fully integrated within the broader AXA group, meaning access to risk capital (traditional and alternative) is assured, as well as the units ability to leverage expertise from across AXA and reach its huge range of clients.

In addition, there is an ambition to integrate the parametric insurance product within more traditional coverage offerings, enabling risk protection buyers to benefit from responsive weather and climate related protection.

“AXA Climate will fully support the AXA global ecosystem – by leveraging its local champions, extended geographic footprint (61 countries) and capacities. Progressively embedding climate parametric layers within traditional coverage will be a key success factor,” Antoine Denoix said.

This could be particularly effective within business insurance offerings, where weather is a major source of interruption and expense. So, if a parametric insurance product can be embedded within broader enterprise coverage for large corporates it could be a significant selling point for the AXA group products as a whole.

AXA Climate has added a number of new hires in recent months, as it looked to strengthen its team and build-out its parametric insurance capabilities.

François Vannesson has become the AXA Climate Legal and General Counsel. He previously worked at AXA Partners where he supported AXA Group wide projects. Before joining AXA, he worked at Gide, an international law firm and insurer Allianz.

Amaury Dufetel has taken on the role of Head of Pricing and Insurance for AXA Climate. Dufetel has experience in both P&C and life insurance gained in a career that began in 2003, with a particular focus on pricing models, reinsurance structuring and natural catastrophe modeling. He has held a number of senior roles at AXA, most recently as co-founder and CEO of an AXA-incubated InsurTech startup.

Gwendal Pougnet is AXA Climate’s Chief Underwriting Officer. Previously he was Head of Underwriting and Transformation Officer of AXA Spain, while from 2010 to 2013 he held executive positions in finance and strategy for at AXA Global P&C. Prior to this Pougnet worked as an actuary, mainly in risk transfer operations (reinsurance and ILS).

Isa Ennadifi has joined as a Senior Underwriter based in London for AXA Climate. Her career began at SCOR in 2011, after which she joined XL Catlin, now AXA XL, two years ago. Her background is in structuring and underwriting in the Alternative Risk transfer market.

Commenting on the new hires and strengthening of the team at AXA Climate, CEO Antoine Denoix said, “Over the past few months, we have strengthened our team with key experts, in order to support AXA Climate’s strong ambition.”

AXA Climate aims to make efficient use of advanced technology in the provision of its parametric range of insurance and risk transfer products.

In particular the company has invested heavily in aerial imagery and satellite data to enhance parametric triggers and enable the quickest payouts when contracts are impacted by climate and weather-related events.

“In terms of technology, our ambition is clear: being capable of providing a faster, cheaper and more accurate response than competitors to any given use case that is based on aerial images. In 2018, AXA Climate was the first player to launch a Wildfire Protection parametric solution in Chile, by leveraging satellite images to automate payouts and avoid the loss adjustment process,” Antoine Denoix explained.

The product range offered by AXA Climate will be comprehensive, covering the main climate, weather and environmental factor risks.

Antoine Denoix explained, “Our offer covers the main climate risks, with a full range of simple and innovative products: Frost Protection, Drought Protection, Wildfire Protection (with satellite imagery), Hail Protection (via dedicated partnerships with providers of cutting-edge ground sensors), Cyclone Protection, and Water-level Protection.”

In terms of target markets, Antoine Denoix continued, “We want to focus on markets with the greatest impact on societies and lives: the food sector of course, but also the water sectors and critical industries such as transport, construction, energy, telecommunications and utilities.”

With the reach of the AXA Group behind them, AXA Climate should have seamless access to potential clients in these core sectors, while at the same time the various AXA sales teams can promote parametric solutions to an even wider range of industries and targets.

In addition, AXA Climate wants to go one step further than just offering financial protection, hedges and safety nets, with a focus also on how to reduce risk, as well as transfer it.

According to Antoine Denoix, “When it comes to insurance, we believe prevention is always better than cure. That’s why we are also developing new services – beyond insurance – for climate prevention and resilience.”

That’s encouraging to hear and this approach of offering risk transfer alongside services to reduce and mitigate risk can encourage the development of long-lasting client relationships, which aligns well with the mission of the broader AXA Group.

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