26 January 2015News

Axis Capital and PartnerRe to merge

Bermuda-based Axis Capital and PartnerRe have agreed an $11 billion merger, which will create one of the five biggest reinsurers globally.

The company, which will be based on Bermuda, expects gross written premiums in excess of $10 billion.

Albert Benchimol, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Axis Capital, will serve as CEO of the combined company. Costas Miranthis, the CEO of PartnerRe, has already stepped down from PartnerRe. Jean-Paul Montupet, PartnerRe chairman, will serve as non-executive chairman of the combined company.

The new company will have a 14-strong board of directors comprising seven Axis Capital directors and seven PartnerRe directors, including Montupet and Benchimol. Current Axis Capital chairman Michael Butt will continue to serve on the board as chairman emeritus.

David Zwiener, a PartnerRe director, will assume the position of interim CEO of PartnerRe until the completion of the transaction.

PartnerRe shareholders will receive 2.18 shares of the combined company’s common shares for each share of PartnerRe common shares they own and Axis Capital shareholders will receive one share of the combined company’s common shares for each share of AXIS Capital common shares they own.

Upon completion of the transaction, shareholders of PartnerRe and Axis Capital will own approximately 51.6 percent and 48.4 percent of the combined company, respectively.

Emmanuel Clarke will be CEO, reinsurance; Peter Wilson will be CEO, insurance; Chris DiSipio will be CEO, life, accident and health; and John Nichols will be responsible for strategic business development and capital solutions.

Benchimol said: “This transformational combination will leverage the complementary strengths of both companies and create an organisation with the size and breadth to enhance product and service offerings, maximise growth opportunities, optimise portfolios, and deliver both economies of scale and capital efficiencies.

“The combined company will have three strongly positioned businesses – a top-five global reinsurer, a $2.5 billion specialty insurance underwriting business, and a highly successful and growing life, accident and health franchise – all with increased strategic flexibility.

“As a top five global reinsurer with leading positions in a number of specialty lines, we will be strongly positioned to turn the challenges presented by the structural changes in the reinsurance market into opportunities.”

Joseph Henry will be chief financial officer (CFO) and Bill Babcock will be deputy CFO and lead integration officer. Babcock will assume the role of CFO upon Henry’s retirement in July 2016.