AXIS Capital, the global insurance and reinsurance underwriter, is refocusing its reinsurance division AXIS Re, with a new CEO named in Ann Haugh and an announcement that it is exiting the property reinsurance business as it continues to reduce catastrophe volatility.
It comes as part of a refocus on being a specialty reinsurance underwriter, with Vince Tizzio named as CEO Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance, an expansion of his current role.
“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,” explained Albert Benchimol, President and CEO of AXIS Capital.
Given the refocus of AXIS Re, its current CEO Steve Arora will depart the firm on December 31st, after a nearly five year stint with AXIS.
“During the time Steve has been with AXIS, the Reinsurance industry faced significant challenges and, in response, the Company has been working toward a new direction. Steve demonstrated impressive leadership and led the transformation of AXIS Re into a specialist reinsurer,” said Mr. Benchimol. “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,” Benchimol added.
“It has been exciting to lead AXIS Re and I would like to thank the Board, Executive Committee, and Reinsurance colleagues for their partnership and support. I’m confident that the actions announced today will accelerate the positive momentum across the company,” Arora also said.
AXIS Capital aims to become a leading specialty focused underwriting firm and part of this means exiting from the property reinsurance business completely.
The AXIS Re focus will now be on Casualty, Specialty, A&H, and Credit lines.
Ann Haugh has been named as the new CEO of AXIS Re and will report to Tizzio.
Haugh has held a number of senior leadership roles within AXIS Re, including President of Global Property and, prior to that, President of Global Markets.
“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,” Haugh said. “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.”
AXIS Re will completely exit its Property Reinsurance business, which it says is part of its approach to lower volatility from catastrophe risk.
AXIS Re will honor all of its multi-year treaties and outstanding quotes, the firm explained, but will no longer consider new property and catastrophe reinsurance business.
Exactly what this means for the AXIS ILS business remains to be seen, with no information on whether it will continue to write property catastrophe risks backed by third-party investor capital provided today.
Benchimol further explained, “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.”
AXIS also said that a search for a new global Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO) has begun, with the new individual set to report directly to Benchimol.
Tizzio, who joined AXIS in January, becomes CEO Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance, managing core divisions including Wholesale, International, Financial Lines, Accident & Health, and Cyber, as well as AXIS Re and reporting to Benchimol.
“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 intends to launch new specialty re/insurance products to meet client needs.
In addition, AXIS has named Linda Ventresca as Head of Digital, reporting to Tizzio.
Ventresca will also continue to oversee AXIS Digital Ventures, the firm’s partnership and venture arm.
“I look forward to working with the team to build on the positive momentum that’s been achieved in recent years as we advance our efforts to achieve leadership in specialty underwriting,” Tizzio added. “This includes identifying new opportunities to create profitable growth that are aligned with our existing areas of expertise and the customer-centric focus for which AXIS is known.”