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AXA To Sell Gulf Insurance Operations To Gulf Insurance Group

AXA has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Gulf Insurance Group (“GIG”) to sell its insurance operations in the Gulf region, which includes its shareholding* in AXA Gulf, AXA Cooperative Insurance Company and AXA Green Crescent Insurance Company.

GIG is a leading insurer in the Gulf region, strengthened by the global footprint and insurance expertise of Fairfax as well as the regional market knowledge of KIPCO, its shareholders.

As part of the transaction, Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (“YBA Kanoo”), one of the largest conglomerates in the Gulf Region, will also sell its shareholding* in AXA Gulf and in AXA Cooperative Insurance Company.

Under the terms of the agreement, AXA will sell its ownership in its operations in the Gulf region for a total cash consideration of USD 269 million (or Euro 225 million*).

THOMAS BUBERL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AXA comments, "This transaction marks another step in AXA’s continued simplification journey. We are convinced that AXA’s operations in the Gulf region will benefit from GIG’s leadership and scale in the region, to further pursue their focus on delivering growth and excellent customer service. I would like to thank the management teams and all the employees of our operations in the Gulf region for their continuous contribution and engagement over the years, and wish them all the success for the future."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by 3Q 2021.

About AXA and YBA Kanoo’s insurance operations in the Gulf region

AXA and YBA Kanoo are amongst the top 5 insurers* in the Gulf region. The companies in the Gulf region collectively have over 1,000 employees and serves over 1 million customers through more than 30 branches and sales outlets spread across Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. They distribute a wide range of insurance products and services for corporate and individual customers with predominant focus on Health and Property & Casualty. AXA Cooperative Insurance Company is listed on the Tadawul stock exchange in Saudi Arabia, and AXA Green Crescent Insurance Company on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in UAE.

The Underlying Earnings and gross revenues of AXA’s operations in the Gulf region recorded in the Group’s FY19 consolidated financial statements were Euro 25 million* and Euro 851 million* respectively.

About YBA Kanoo

The YBA Kanoo Group holds a portfolio of diversified businesses and strategic joint-ventures in both established and growing markets around the world. Wholly owned activities are spread across the Gulf States: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Qatar with expanded activities across Africa, Europe and Asia.

With a physical presence across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia, and a large, superbly skilled workforce, the Group operates across a broad range of sectors through an extensive portfolio of complementary businesses and strategic partnerships. Its divisions include: Kanoo Industrial Energy, Kanoo Capital, Kanoo Travel, Kanoo Shipping, Kanoo Logistics, and Kanoo Real Estate.

YBA Kanoo has established solid, long-term joint-venture partnerships with many of the world’s leading companies and, over the years, YBA Kanoo has also become the partner of choice for regional businesses.

About Gulf Insurance Group

Gulf Insurance Group is the largest insurance Group in Kuwait in terms of written and retained premiums, with operations in life and non-life as well as Takaful insurance. Gulf Insurance has become one of the largest insurance networks in the Middle East and North Africa with companies in Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Emirates. Its reported consolidated assets stand at USD 2.8 billion as at 30 September 2020.

(*) - 4 Based on FY19 gross written premium in the Gulf region only i.e. excludes gross written premium related to international business to the extent possible based on available information

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AXA Future Risks Report 2020: The Covid-19 Pandemic Eclipses Climate Risk

AXA today publishes the seventh edition of its Future Risks Report.

This global study measures and ranks changes in the perception of emerging risks by a panel of risk management experts and the general public. Over 20,000 people were interviewed. Conducted in partnership with research institute IPSOS and geopolitical analysis consultancy Eurasia Group, this year’s ranking of the 10 main emerging risks is marked by the Covid-19 crisis.

Previously underestimated risks related to pandemics and infectious diseases rise from eighth in 2019 to top the 2020 ranking. Climate change-related risk comes in second, dropping from the top spot it has held for years. Climate change remains the number one risk in Europe but falls to third place in Asia and America. The drop is particularly marked in North America, where the share of experts who consider this risk major has fallen from 71% in 2019 to 46% in 2020.

Cybersecurity risk, ranked third, increases in prominence this year with the new and widespread adoption of technology and the explosion of cyberattacks during lockdown. In particular, the perception of cyber warfare risk has increased; it is seen as the main security threat by 47% of experts compared to 37% last year. The risk of shutdown of essential services and critical infrastructure following a cyberattack has also increased (+7 points to 51%).

Geopolitical risks occupy fourth place, with a significant increase in the risk of digital warfare between nations, which experts consider to be the top new security threat. Finally, the risk of social unrest placed fifth.

THOMAS BUBERL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AXA comments, "Understanding and anticipating risks is at the heart of the insurance business. AXA's Future Risks Report is an essential tool to inform and prepare us for major risk trends impacting our society.

This seventh edition is of course marked by the exceptional context of the Covid-19 pandemic. It highlights health as a major issue, which we consider a positive shift, as we have considered it underestimated for years. However, this must not affect the fight against climate change, which remains the most significant and pressing challenge of our time. In line with last year, this year's edition highlights the growing interconnection of risks, calling for collective and concerted solutions to strengthen the resilience of our economies and societies."

The 2020 edition of the Future Risks Report is available on the AXA website at: https://www.axa.com/en/press/publications/future-risks-report-2020

 

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AXA Half Year 2020 Earnings

  • Total revenues* down 2% to Euro 52.4 billion
  • Underlying earnings** down 48% to Euro 1.9 billion, or up 1% excl. Covid-19 claims*** and EQH****
  • Covid-19 claims*** estimated 2020 UE** impact confirmed at Euro 1.5 billion and booked in 1H20
  • Solvency II ratio***** at 180%, debt gearing** down to 27.6%, and cash remittance of Euro 4.9 billion
  • No exceptional distribution of reserves in 4Q20 following ACPR’s July 28 communication

THOMAS BUBERL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AXA comments, “In the first half of 2020, AXA demonstrated its resilience in the challenging context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenues were down 2%, to Euro 52 billion, reflecting strong growth in the first quarter offset by lower business activity in the second quarter. Growth in Health remained strong throughout the first six months of the year, at +9%, and price increases in P&C Commercial lines continued to accelerate.

The Group’s underlying earnings were Euro 1.9 billion, down 48%, and were up 1% excluding Covid-19 claims*** and the disposal of Equitable Holdings. The impact of Covid-19 on AXA’s earnings was in line with our previously published guidance. Commercial lines were the most impacted, notably at AXA XL. The rest of the Group was resilient, with the impacts from Covid-19 claims largely offset by lower frequency in Motor and growth in Health and Asset Management.

AXA’s Solvency II ratio was resilient at 180%, its debt gearing was reduced by 1.2 points to 27.6%, and cash remittance amounted to Euro 4.9 billion, confirming the strength of the Group’s balance sheet in volatile market conditions.

AXA’s strategic vision and business profile shift are more relevant than ever, notably with its growing and profitable Health business, and an unparalleled opportunity to benefit from the hardening pricing cycle in P&C Commercial lines. With a clear focus on technical risks, the Group is well positioned for a prolonged period of low interest rates.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the critical role of insurance in protecting societies and supporting economic recovery. This conviction is encapsulated in our new purpose ‘Acting for human progress by protecting what matters’. As a global insurance leader and investor, the Group continues to take ambitious measures to meet the major challenges of our time, aligning post-Covid recovery strategies with our long-standing commitment to facilitate the green economy transition.

Our people are key to the Group’s performance, and I wish to thank all our employees, agents and partners, for their unwavering commitment to provide support and undisrupted service to our clients during these challenging times."

*Change in gross revenues is on a comparable basis (constant forex, scope and methodology).

**Underlying earnings (“UE”), underlying earnings per share (“UEPS”), underlying combined ratio, adjusted earnings, adjusted return on equity and debt gearing are non-GAAP financial measures, or alternative performance measures (“APMs”). A reconciliation from APMs adjusted earnings, underlying earnings and underlying combined ratio to the most directly reconcilable line item, subtotal or total in the financial statements of the corresponding period is provided on pages 19 and 20 of the Half-Year 2020 Financial Report. APMs adjusted return on equity and underlying earnings per share are reconciled to the financial statements in the table set forth on page 26 of the Half-Year 2020 Financial Report. The calculation methodology of the debt gearing is set out on page 22 of the Half-Year 2020 Financial Report. The above-mentioned and other non-GAAP financial measures used in this press release are defined in the Glossary set forth on pages 60 to 67 of the Half-Year 2020 Financial Report.

***“Covid-19 claims” includes P&C, L&S and Health net claims related to Covid-19, as well as the impacts from solidarity measures and from lower volumes net of expenses, linked to Covid-19. “Covid-19 claims” does not include any financial market impacts (including impacts on investment margin, unit-linked and asset management fees, etc.) relating to the Covid-19 crisis.

****Equitable Holdings Inc. ("EQH") was deconsolidated in AXA's Financial Statements in 2019.

*****The Solvency II ratio is estimated primarily using AXA’s internal model calibrated based on an adverse 1/200 years shock. It also reflects the release of the provision for the 4Q20 exceptional distribution of reserves of Euro 0.70 per share and includes a theoretical amount for dividends accrued for the first six months of 2020, based on the full year dividend of Euro 1.43 per share initially proposed by the Board for FY19. Dividends are proposed by the Board, at its discretion based on a variety of factors described in AXA’s 2019 Universal Registration Document, and then submitted to AXA’s shareholders for approval. This estimate should not be considered in any way to be an indication of the actual dividend amount, if any, for the 2020 financial year. For further information on AXA’s internal model and Solvency II disclosures, please refer to AXA Group’s SFCR as of December 31, 2019, available on AXA’s website (www.axa.com).

In compliance with the decision from AXA’s lead supervisor (the ACPR) from January 1, 2019, entities that were part of the XL Group (“XL entities”) have been fully consolidated for Solvency II purposes (as per the consolidation-based method set forth in the Solvency II Directive) and their contribution to the Group’s solvency capital requirement has been calculated using the Solvency II standard formula. Subject to the prior approval of the ACPR, the Group intends to extend its Internal Model to XL entities as soon as December 31, 2020.

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