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Axis Capital confident about renewals after decision to exit property reinsurance

Albert Benchimol said he was confident customers would still do business with Axis

Chief executive, Albert Benchimol, said the transition into a specialty underwriter was in the business’s interest even if it hits January 1 renewals

Axis Capital is not worried about losing business because of its decision to exit property reinsurance, chair and chief executive, Albert Benchimol, has said.

Benchimol said he was confident customers would still do business with the re/insurer despite the announcement earlier this year that it would no longer write property reinsurance.

But, he said, even if January 1 renewals were affected it would still be in the longer-term interest of the business to successfully complete its transition into a specialty insurer.

“The message that we're getting from our customers is that they like working with us, they like the relationship we've had, they like the value we provide and that their [positing going into talks] is that they want to continue trading with us,” Benchimol told investors.

Benchimol said while the business was realistic about the fact that some clients would have catastrophe risk they would need to place elsewhere, Axis was not the only one in the market to exit property. “I don't think that we would necessarily be the first that gets to pay for that,” he said.

He added Axis had a lot of reinsurance customers that did not buy catastrophe and would not be influenced by the decision to exit property.

“In the longer picture I don't think it matters whether we renew $100m more or less [on January 1]. What matters is our transition to becoming a specialty underwriter with high profitability and low volatile,” Benchimol said.

“Whatever book we renew into [January], I'm highly confident will be a book with strong, relationship minded buyers and that book will provide a very good base for future profitable growth in further periods,” he added.

His comments come as Axis Capital reported a third-quarter net loss of $16.9m from income of $47.4m.

This was driven by an 18% decline in investment income (to $88.2m) and a negative $157.4m swing in realised investment results, which offset improved underwriting results.

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