AXIS Capital is going where fewer and fewer insurance companies dare to go. Comprised of Axis Insurance and Axis Re, the company offers specialty insurance and treaty reinsurance. Its specialty coverage includes terrorism, aviation and marine war, and political risk; commercial property; professional liability; and onshore and offshore energy. AXIS Capital's reinsurance products, which allow for risk-sharing among insurance companies, include catastrophe, property, liability, credit, auto, and engineering lines. The company, which has operations in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, and the US, sells its products through brokers including Marsh, Aon, and Willis Group.
AXIS Capital's largest markets are Europe and North America. The company's growth plans were a balance of organic and acquisitive but the global economic crisis caused a shift toward organic. To that end, in late 2009 it established a line of corporate accident and travel coverage as well as catastrophic health insurance in the US. It will roll out the coverage to its other markets in the future.
As part of its earlier expansion efforts, AXIS opened new branch locations in Australia, Canada, and Singapore in 2008. It also acquired a general underwriting firm, Dexta (now AXIS Specialty Australia), in Australia the following year.
Though AXIS Capital finished 2009 with a bump in sales and net income, investment and financing misses took a big bite out of cash flow. The cancelation of a large derivatives contract didn't help. Also in 2009 reinsurance pulled even with insurance income for the first time in the company's history. – less