New Milestones, New Opportunities
AXIS' Accident & Health business (A&H) had its most profitable year and achieved new milestones while building a leading franchise in the global market for accident and health insurance and reinsurance.
Gross premiums written rose 18% and surpassed the half-billion-dollar mark, to $509 million, excluding Novae. Once again, A&H demonstrated adept positioning in a competitive marketplace that otherwise grew only in the low single digits.
In the U.S., A&H showed its skills in meeting customer demand within a changing regulatory landscape. We wrote more business in limited benefits as individuals sought affordable healthcare options. Additionally, we seized an opportunity in specialty reinsurance as insurers and healthcare providers found themselves exposed to more risk, and looked to us for coverage for unexpected liabilities or claim volatility.
Internationally, we provided reinsurance for companies seeking to bolster their capital under the rules of Solvency II, especially on the Continent. We also launched a life reinsurance effort focused primarily on the needs of our European and Middle Eastern customers. In Dubai, where we recently opened an office to serve emerging markets across the Middle East and North Africa, we acquired a Class 4 license to expand our activities to a wider range of services, a further step towards becoming a full-service local provider.
In early 2018, as part of an effort to strengthen its operating model and make our company more agile and "future ready," AXIS announced a major realignment of A&H, merging it into the Company's Insurance and Reinsurance segments. This will help A&H deliver more synergies in combination with AXIS' property and casualty insurance and reinsurance businesses.
It will also enable A&H teams to better leverage customer and partner relationships across the Company, better tap into existing client networks, and help ensure seamless delivery of A&H and more traditional P&C (re)insurance products to AXIS' international clients.
This change will empower the business to become more efficient and effectively leverage the existing distribution channels within the organization. The Company expects these lines to continue to grow profitability and be an important contributor in advancing our long-term strategic goals.