Bermuda-based reinsurer AXIS Re has announced that it is to shift its focus to becoming a specialist reinsurer with a commitment to casualty, specialty, A&H, and credit lines.
The firm also announced that Steve Arora, current CEO, is to leave and be succeeded by Ann Haugh. The current moves form part of a multi-year plan from the company to increase profitability, lower volatility, and strengthen its portfolio.
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 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.”
Commenting on the departure of Arora after almost five years with the firm, Benchimol added: “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.”
Arora said that it had been ‘exciting’ to lead AXIS Re.
He added: “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.”
Other actions taken by the firm include the appointments of Vince Tizzio as CEO of specialty insurance and reinsurance, and Linda Ventresca as head of digital, exiting the property reinsurance business, reducing exposure to catastrophe risk, and employing a new global CUO.
“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,” said Benchimol.
AXIS said it will also 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, Ventresca will report to Tizzio, and will be tasked with identifying and guiding the delivery of various digitized solutions across the underwriting enterprise. She will continue to oversee AXIS Digital Ventures.
“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 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.”
New AXIS Re CEO, Haugh, 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.”
Commenting on the decision to close its property reinsurance business, 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.”