Insurer’s P&C earnings down 18%

AXA has confirmed that Nicolas Moreau is to leave his position as UK group chief executive to become chief executive of AXA France, as revealed by Insurance Times last month.

As widely tipped, Moreau will be replaced by life and deputy UK chief executive Paul Evans.

“I have been delighted to serve as UK chief executive of AXA for the last four years during which time we have seen a new operating model better aligning business lines to customers; the launch of new high growth businesses – the multi-manager Architas and wrap platform Elevate; the phenomenal growth of the direct motor operations; the bringing to market of a new broking and advisory brand Bluefin as well as the expansion of our international healthcare business,” Moreau said in a statement.

The announcement was made along with AXA UK’s first half results, which revealed the insurer’s underlying earnings, excluding one-off events, had increased by 34% to £151m.

However, first-half general insurance and healthcare underlying earnings in the UK and Ireland fell 18% to £63m from £77m in the first half of 2009. AXA attributed the decline to favourable prior-year reserve releases boosting the 2009 result.

It added that UK and Ireland general insurance earnings were also hit by severe weather events in January, increasing reinsurance costs, investments in the international healthcare business and lower investment income.

Offsetting this was an improvement in underlying underwriting performance driven by improvements in the loss and commission ratios, primarily in commercial property and healthcare. The general insurance and healthcare combined operating ratio improved to 102.4% in the first half of 2010.

Click here for AXA's UK general insurance results, including broking arm Bluefin.