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Sweeping changes at Axis Capital

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Bermudian-based Axis Capital Holdings Limited has announced sweeping changes to its operation as it shifts its focus to specialty underwriting.

A series of moves announced today include:

•Appointing Vince Tizzio as CEO Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance, an expansion of his previously announced role;

•Expanding small-to-mid-sized enterprise solutions capability and associated suite of specialist products transacted digitally; Linda Ventresca named head of digital;

•Completing the shift of Axis Re to a specialist reinsurer, with a commitment to casualty, specialty, A&H, and credit lines; Ann Haugh named CEO of Axis Re;

•Exiting its property reinsurance business, further reducing overall exposure to catastrophe risks; and

•Consolidating underwriting analytics and actuarial support functions under a global chief underwriting officer.

Albert Benchimol, president and CEO of Axis Capital, said: “We are simplifying our organisational structure and aligning our resources to advance leadership in specialty underwriting – this is part of a multiyear 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.”

Axis Re CEO Steve Arora will leave the company on December 31, following nearly five years with the organisation.

Mr Benchimol said: "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. 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."

Mr Tizzio, who joined Axis in January as senior adviser – insurance market strategy, was originally to have transitioned to CEO of Axis Insurance on June 1.

He will continue to report directly to Mr Benchimol, who said: “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.

“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-mid-sized businesses.

As head of digital, Ms Ventresca will report to Mr Tizzio.

In this role, she will identify and guide the delivery of various digitised solutions across the underwriting enterprise.

Ms Ventresca will continue to oversee Axis Digital Ventures, the company’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,” said Mr Tizzio.

“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.”

Ms Haugh, who will report to Mr Tizzio, said: “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.

“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.”

The company said Axis Re will exit its property reinsurance business, as part of an overall approach to reduce the company’s exposure to volatile catastrophe risk.

Axis Re will honour all multiyear treaties and outstanding quotes but will no longer consider new property and catastrophe reinsurance business.

Mr Benchimol said: “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.”

The company said it has launched a search for a global chief underwriting officer, who will report to Mr Benchimol.

Albert Benchimol, CEO of Axis (File photograph)
Vince Tizzio: appointed CEO, Specialty Insurance and Reinsurance
Linda Ventresca: named head of digital (File photograph)
Ann Haugh: named CEO of Axis Re

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Published June 08, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated June 08, 2022 at 7:59 am)

Sweeping changes at Axis Capital

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