To get “out in front” of change, take our business to the next level, and maintain and reinforce market competitiveness, we must adhere to four core principles:
In 2018, we implemented a number of initiatives across the Company to advance these principles while accelerating innovation, incorporating new technologies into our key processes, and making us more client-focused, nimble and efficient.
A prime example of our commitment to best-in-class execution of our hybrid business model and innovation is the creation of our Global Underwriting and Analytics (GUA) office. The GUA is dedicated to providing a centralized view on underwriting, and further direction and coordination of our Insurance and Reinsurance portfolios. Its focus is to arm our teams across the world with enhanced insights, resources and tools to make better-informed decisions, maintain a competitive advantage in our product and service offerings, and deliver a better return on the capital that we deploy.
GUA aims to help to drive performance by collecting and transforming data into useful insights; conducting research to deepen our understanding of the risk landscape; increasing awareness of groupwide exposures and concentrations; and supporting our businesses with technical/expert knowledge.
The GUA launched a Group Underwriting function, comprising Underwriting and Portfolio Management teams, designed to strengthen our return on underwriting capital deployed through underwriting portfolio analysis; a uniform approach to enterprise-wide risks; and sharing of best practices and research.
Within the GUA, we are launching Innovation Labs, a team dedicated to delivering business transformation. The Labs will deliver physical co-location space and expert resource to incubate digital use cases, including a Center of Excellence, for Data & Analytics and agile project delivery.
Another key driver of innovation is the development of an engagement strategy to connect AXIS to the growing InsurTech ecosystem and to support the implementation of new digital and technology capabilities. To accelerate our InsurTech partnerships and initiatives, we launched AXIS Digital Ventures in July 2018. AXIS Digital Ventures will lead our enterprise-wide efforts to partner with entrepreneurial companies focused on data and technology with high-value (re)insurance applications; new product opportunities, including emerging risks; and new distribution and (re)insurance business models.
In 2018, AXIS Digital Ventures has led our organization in partnering with the FinTech Innovation Labs program in London. The program serves as a global accelerator, with partners like AXIS providing mentoring, networking and advice to FinTech start-ups — thus helping new ventures to grow while connecting us with the latest developments in financial technology.
AXIS also advanced its partnership in 2018 with Plug and Play, a global digital innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley through which AXIS is providing mentoring and support to startups. The GUA, AXIS Digital Ventures, the Labs and other elements of our innovation strategy will give our teams more powerful tools and platforms to enhance our capabilities and provide our services in a more effective manner, while delivering profitable growth for our shareholders.