AXA XL’s head of distribution Louise Piper tells Insurance Times how brokers will profit from AXA’s mega-merger with XL Group

This year at Biba AXA is making a statement to UK brokers about its much-discussed acquisition of XL Group.

It is using the conference to launch three XL specialty products to its UK brokers –  marine cargo, accident and health, and environmental liability.

AXA closed the acquisition of XL Group last September and has since been working to integrate AXA Corporate Solutions, AXA Matrix, AXA Art and XL Catlin into the united AXA XL division.

AXA XL’s head of distribution Louise Piper told Insurance Times this initial product expansion into AXA’s network of UK brokers was the first phase in realising new business opportunities from the merger.

She said: “AXA XL does have a regional presence, but it is quite small and quite niche.

“This really broadens what we can offer. It’s a tremendous opportunity and means we can access the whole broker network that AXA uses and have relationships with. It’s a much wider group of networks that we can trade with.

“So far we have been successful in cross-selling, but we’ve done it more by client. We are now working with our brokers as well advising them that these are products we are offering.”


Brokers are generally concerned when two major insurance companies merge, for fear it limits choice as products, offices and functions are streamlined.

In February AXA XL announced it would put 711 European jobs at risk, including 250 in the UK, through the integration process, and several senior staff have  left the group to join former boss Stephen Catlin in his latest venture Convex Group.

But Piper vowed that for UK brokers there would be no reduction in service, and that, given the lack of cross-over in products, there would be many more opportunities to open up AXA XL products to the wider network of AXA’s UK brokers. The AXA XL cyber product was listed as another to be made available later this year.

“The AXA XL and AXA UK teams have been working closely together for some time now, and we’re excited about this year’s Biba Conference as it will be the first where we’ll be presenting the face of One AXA to clients,” she said.

“Clearly, any integration presents its challenges; however, we believe these are far outweighed by the opportunities afforded by this deal, which allows us to offer a more compelling value proposition for brokers and clients.”

AXA and AXA XL share a stand at Biba this year, as they look to demonstrate to brokers how the two will work together.

In the UK, where the acquisition brings in around £2.3bn in premium mainly through major national or global brokers, the newly formed AXA XL division will run alongside AXA Commercial General Insurance.

Broker demand

Piper highlighted that the accident and health and environmental liability products are both products AXA previously didn’t supply to UK brokers, and its marine cargo product is far more comprehensive than AXA’s equivalent.

She revealed these products were the first to be chosen after AXA and AXA XL separately contacted their own top 10 brokers to determine which products they would most like to see expanded across AXA’s network of brokers.

Marine cargo and accident and health will be made available immediately through AXA’s e-trade platform AXA Connect, with plans for the environmental liability product to be added to the platform.

“As many as possible will transition over, but it’s down to the demand for them,” she said. “We want to make it simple for our brokers to access, so we want them as much as possible to be an online solution.

“There will be some training going on for our AXA Insurance underwriters, but for these products that will be online, the brokers will access that as they currently access AXA Connect.”

AXA XL has 44 products, but Piper said the integration process will not be rushed.

She added: “What we wanted to do is make sure that all the products we launch now are all up and running, that we don’t have any glitches and that it’s all clear and acceptable.

“We are going to do everything in a very managed way. There will be a number of follow-ups to this, but we want to make sure we do this in a correct way.”