AXIS Capital attributes substantial 2018 growth to Novae acquisition


AXIS Capital returned to profit in 2018 and significantly increased its international insurance business being written, the latter of which it attributes to its acquisition of Novae Group back in 2017.

At the end of 2018, gross premiums written for AXIS Capital's insurance business were $3.8 billion, an increase of $983 million (or 35 percent) year-on-year, which included an increase of $923 million attributable to property, marine, professional lines, and credit and political risk lines associated with the acquisition of Novae.

Excluding the impact from the acquisition of Noae, gross premiums wirrten increased 2 percent, attributable to increases in professional lines and liability lines driven by new business, partially offset by a decrease in property, marine, and accident and health lines.

In October 2017, AXIS Capital acquired Novae Group, a move which positioned the company as a top ten re/insurer at Lloyd's, the company said.

“We furthered our relevance and positioning in key markets, including transitioning our London operations to a leading position at Lloyd’s with the integration of Novae, and we scaled up a transformation program that is improving our efficiency and our agility in a rapidly evolving market,” said Albert Benchimol, president and CEO of AXIS Capital.

AXIS Capital's gross premiums written for the reinsurance segment increased by $10 million (or 4 percent), attributable to catastrophe, and accident and health lines, partially offset by decreases in professional lines and property lines.

The company suggested the increase in catastrophe lines was largely due to reinstatements premiums and the increase in accident and health lines was due to new business, partially offset by a timing difference.

Overall, AXIS Capital reported a net income of $0.4 million for year end 2018 compared with a net loss of $416 million in the same period the year before. Its combined ratio improved to 99.9 percent in 2018 from 113.5 percent the year before.

The fourth quarter proved challenging for the re/insurer, with a net loss of $198 million compared with a net loss of $38 million in the same period the year before.

“In 2018, we delivered improved full-year underwriting performance, both with and without cats. Following three quarters in which we achieved tangible progress toward delivering on our financial goals, however, heavy attractional property and catastrophe activity led to unsatisfactory results in the fourth quarter,” added Benchimol.

“Throughout the past year, we took a number of significant actions to strengthen our portfolio and, over the past few months, we’ve accelerated these initiatives.

“Additionally, we anticipate that recent improvements in pricing and market discipline will also have a positive impact on the pace of our improvements. 2018 was a year in which we made significant progress in advancing our strategy and in strengthening our business.

AXIS Capital, Novae, M&A, Results, Bermuda, Lloyd's, London, UK

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