AXA XL combines Bermuda, London reinsurance platforms amidst strategic overhaul


Re/insurer AXA XL is combining its Bermuda and London reinsurance platforms to create a global markets business focused on catastrophe, casualty and specialty lines led by Rob Littlemore, chief executive officer of its London reinsurance business.

The company has unveiled a new simplified reinsurance organisational structure, aligned around its key markets and intended to enhance the focus on its 'payer to partner' strategy. The changes will take effect from January 2, 2020.

AXA XL currently has four reinsurance underwriting regions: London - led by Littlemore; Bermuda - led by Jonathan Gale; North America - led by John Welch; and international - led by David Watson, all of whom report to Charles Cooper, chief executive officer of reinsurance.

As part of the restructure, Littlemore will assume the leadership of newly-created global markets business which will comprise of AXA XL's Bermuda and London reinsurance platforms. He has more than 28 years’ experience underwriting US casualty reinsurance classes including having served as legacy Catlin’s head of reinsurance in London and becoming XL Catlin’s underwriting director of London reinsurance in 2015.

Paul Simons, head of property – global markets, will also serve as head of Bermuda reinsurance and will report to Littlemore.

David Watson, chief executive of AXA XL's international reinsurance business and CEO of XL Re Europe SE, will retire at the end of 2019.

Following Watson’s retirement, John Welch, chief executive of North America reinsurance, will assume leadership of AXA XL Reinsurance’s international markets business. He is relocating to Dublin, Ireland to assume his new role in January. Welch joined AXA XL’s reinsurance operations in 1997 holding various senior level roles. His successor to lead the North America business is yet to be announced.

Furthermore, Jonathan Gale, chief executive of Bermuda reinsurance, will assume the role of chief underwriting officer (CUO), currently held by Chris Dougherty who is assuming the role of chief executive, underwriting capital management AXA XL.

Gale will be responsible for delivering underwriting excellence, underwriting portfolio management, customer relationship management, developing new business opportunities and further demonstrating AXA XL’s thought leadership capabilities. He joined legacy Catlin in 2002 and held progressively senior underwriting roles before most recently becoming CEO of Bermuda reinsurance.

In his new role, Dougherty will be responsible for all AXA XL outwards reinsurance placements and will also work with AXA XL’s head of alternative capital Daniel Brookman in optimising AXA XL’s utilisation of traditional hedges as well as alternative and partnership capital.

During his 25-year career, Dougherty has held a variety of senior positions in both the insurance and reinsurance sectors, including serving as executive vice president, insurance underwriting and Ceded Re.

Finally, AXA XL reinsurance chief operating officer Dawn Dinkins will lead the newly centralised claims and operational functions. Dinkins has 30 years of claims experience, with 23 years spent in reinsurance claims. She assumed the reinsurance COO role at the end of 2016.

“To help our brokers and clients even more quickly and easily access our expertise and products, we’re simplifying our organisational structure," said Cooper.

"Our North American and International businesses will continue to focus on the customers and brokers in their local markets. However, we’re combining our Bermuda and London platforms to create a Global Markets business platform that will focus on the global catastrophe, casualty and specialty business that are placed in these markets.

"We’re also centralising claims and operational functions into one global unit to embed consistency in approach and leverage global resources. We believe that these changes will be mutually beneficial to our trading partners and to our organisation.”

Cooper added: “David has been with the company for more than 26 years. During his tenure, David was instrumental in establishing our presence as a recognised leader in the international casualty market. His leadership, expertise and dedication will be sorely missed.”

AXA XL, Reinsurance, Structure, Bermuda, London, Merger, Growth strategy, Optimisation

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