Jon Walker revealed details to Insurance Times of how AXA Commercial and AXA XL will collaborate in the UK market to benefit brokers

AXA will make selected XL Group specialty products available to brokers through its e-trade platform this year.

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

In the UK, the newly formed AXA XL division will run alongside AXA Commercial General Insurance.

The acquisition brings around £2.3bn in premium to AXA’s UK arm, mainly through the major national or global brokers.

But managing director of AXA Commercial Intermediary Jon Walker told Insurance Times there were untapped opportunities for XL products to be regionally distributed.

“AXA XL and AXA Commercial will continue to work separately, but will work together on how we develop what each other party has,” he said.

“So can we take some of XL’s products and distribute them into the regional broker base, which is where AXA Commercial is very strong.”


This distribution method will include AXA Commercial selling XL specialty products to UK regional brokers through AXA’s e-trade platform.


Walker said decisions are still to be finalised on which products would be adopted. He anticipates using the Biba conference, where AXA and AXA XL will have a joint stand, as a forum to unveil more to brokers on how AXA XL and AXA Commercial will work together.

Walker added: “XL have some really interesting specialty product lines that we think could be quite interesting for the regional broking market. Some of those would lend themselves to an e-trade proposition.

“We’re doing the analysis and investigation to think through what those products would be. We’d rather focus on a few and get them right than just focus on quantity.”

The analysis includes talking to local teams to establish what products regional brokers would be interested in. Walker stressed that he did not want to force brokers down one route of distribution.

But he said the acquisition would definitely lead to new products being available to brokers, whether AXA-branded or XL branded.


In particular, he said AXA would be able to write more bespoke risks for brokers and was optimistic about XL’s differentiated product set be made more available to UK brokers.

He added: “Now that we have XL as part of the family the part of the risk that we couldn’t write historically, we are finding XL can.

“So there are mutually beneficial opportunities on a bespoke basis that are already getting picked up.

“What we’ll do is take that to a different level, which is proactively go to the market later in the year and say here are some new products you can now sell, which we wouldn’t have been putting out to the market without the XL acquisition.

“That’s definitely one of the benefits for us in the UK. Because there’s limited crossover, it means there’s greater scope for opportunity.”

The limited crossover on policy lines has meant no books of business have had to be transferred in UK, unlike other parts of the world where XL is being integrated into the AXA Group.

Broker retention

Jon Walker

Jon Walker, AXA

It has meant a smoother transition for XL brokers coming under AXA XL, and Walker says the UK business has retained 100% of those brokers.

“To my knowledge we haven’t lost any relationships as a result of XL coming into the family and there’s no reason why we would have done,” he said. “In the UK we’re very clear that the XL teams that were working and managing those relationships are still the XL teams.”

Even the worry of a concentration risk, where brokers find they have too much business concentrated with one insurer, hasn’t resulted in any broker departures, according to Walker.

Last month details were revealed of the next phase in the XL integration programme, with 711 jobs put at risk across Europe – 275 in the UK.

But throughout the integration process, Walker emphasised that brokers should see little change.

“Almost inevitably when you bring together organisations of that size there is some duplication and there’s a requirement in order to continue to keep things as simple and responsive for brokers, to make some changes,” he said.

“Sometimes when you make organisational changes things require a little time to bed down, but the intention is absolutely to continue to serve the brokers and if anything to improve the way in which we service brokers by streamlining some of the things we do for brokers internally.”


One area where XL will remain distinct from AXA Commercial in the UK market is at Lloyd’s.

Walker says this is a market where XL has been very strong. He doesn’t want to confuse brokers with where to go by launching AXA into the same market.

“Never say never is there one thing I’ve learnt about this industry, but I have no plan for AXA Commercial to take a box at Lloyd’s when XL Catlin are there and doing what they do very effectively,” Walker said.

 “We don’t want brokers suddenly thinking now where do I go? It’s not helpful for brokers and therefore not helpful for the end consumer.

“We know what both parties are good at. We’ve spent enough time together to know where our relative strengths are and the plan is to continue to play to those strengths.”