Results are ‘further validation’ that reducing exposure to catastrophe business was the right strategy - Benchimol

Axis Capital has reported a Q3 2022 net loss of $17m, with net income for the first nine months of the year at $152m.

The third quarter loss was driven by pre-tax catastrophe and weather-related losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, of $212m, primarily attributable to Hurricane Ian, and other weather-related events. This compares to $250m in Q3 2021.

The combined ratio for the third quarter was 104.3%, compared to 107.4% in the same period of 2021. Despite the loss, the year-on-year improvement is a sign that the reinsurer’s decision to pull away from property catastrophe business was the right one, according to Axis president and CEO Albert Benchimol.

For Axis, the third quarter provides further validation of our strategic evolution to focus our portfolio on specialty, as well as reduce our exposure to catastrophes and strengthen our underlying operations. For the year to date, our industry has suffered in excess of $100 billion of catastrophe losses, yet Axis grew underwriting income by 75% and operating income by 30%.

“Our specialty insurance business continues to perform strongly with higher underwriting profits for both the quarter and nine-month period, and our reinsurance business has demonstrated the benefits of its lower property cat exposure with a manageable loss for the quarter and an improved underwriting result for the nine-month period.

“Stepping back, conditions and uncertainties in the market are likely to result in a favorable pricing environment into 2023 and beyond, as well as heightened demand for specialty coverages – where Axis is very well-positioned.

”Our business has great momentum – we’re improving our profitability, reducing volatility, and growing where we want to. We’re focused on increasing the value that we provide to our customers and shareholders as we advance our strategy of becoming a leader in specialty.”

In June, the company announced that Axis Re CEO Steve Arora would leave the Company at year end, following nearly five years with the organisation. 

The company also announced it would exit its Property Reinsurance business, as part of an overall approach to reduce the company’s exposure to volatile catastrophe risk.