AXA begins shake-up of SME offering with new financial lines unit, while also recruiting for mid-corporate team

AXA has began a shake-up of its SME offering by creating a new financial lines unit, while also outlining plans to attack the mid-corporate sector with a 40-strong team.

The financial lines unit will develop a suite of management liability and professional indemnity products over the course of the coming year.

In the mid-corporate sector, Mike Phillips, head of specialist markets will build a team of 40 staff – including 17 underwriters - with specialist expertise in the larger property, casualty and motor risks.

Recent appointments include Callum Taylor as the new role of head of management lability.

While at Hiscox, he was responsible for developing underwriting guidelines, wordings, training and promotion of all classes of management liability to brokers throughout the UK and Ireland.

Dominic Guest joins from Beazley and becomes head of professional indemnity insurance. Prior to Beazley he was underwriting director at Collegiate.

He will be looking at both bespoke and commoditised products aimed at brokers, schemes and direct customers.

AXA is planning a major refresh of all of its SME product portfolio in the next two years – starting with a new auto-rated property owners product in August.

In the mid-corporate sector, AXA plans to broaden its underwriting footprint to encompass the more complex risks typically associated with companies with a turnover up to £500 million – and filling an historical gap between its SME heartland and the global risks picked up by sister company, AXA Corporate Solutions.

Richard Gregory has been appointed to the role of senior fleet underwriter – mid Corporate.

He has extensive experience of the management and negotiation of large corporate motor fleet risk, including the development of a number of non-conventional risk management solutions.

He previously worked for Aon, Marsh and, most recently, specialist Lloyds Syndicate, Mitsui.

His first task will be to develop a number of innovative risk management packages – backed by a high quality, proactive, claims offering.

In line with AXA’s existing strategy to ensure underwriting expertise is readily available and able to make decisions quickly the mid corporate team will trade on the ground in three key regions – London, Manchester and Birmingham – reflecting the size of the relevant broker market.

Anthony Middle, commercial lines managing director said: “These are exciting times for us as we get to work in the mid corporate sector where we believe the opportunities are huge.

“We have the capacity, are building the capability, and are developing tailored propositions to meet the needs of our broker partners and their end customers’ needs.

“In our traditional SME heartland, we are creating a new unit focused on the requirements of the smaller business but with the capability to deliver a differentiated broker and client experience.

“Our new management liability and PI offering complements our existing product range which offers a number of different packages and products for our SME customers.

“Over time, we will extend the scope of these products to meet the needs of our mid-corporate customers.

“In line with our existing strategy we will ensure we have underwriters readily available and empowered to make decisions and the work we have done in maximising the effectiveness of our regional structure will help us respond effectively to this new customer base”.