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In this edition of Property Perspectives, we chat with Jeff Williams, Senior Vice President, Product Line Leader, North America Property Platinum Accounts about the state of the commercial property insurance market and AXA XL’s Platinum Property Solution. Although many insurance companies within the property market are no longer writing 100% capacity or are scaling back significantly on their capacity, AXA XL continues to offer 100% capacity through the Platinum Property Solution.

What is the current state of the property insurance market?
Williams:
We’re currently in the second year of a very challenging market. CAT events over recent years have been increasing in both frequency and severity. When you combine that with the prolonged soft market that transpired for much of the past 10 years, it has put a strain on insurance company results. Therefore, many insurers are re-underwriting their portfolios in hope of sustainable profitability. Our Platinum clients are looking for consistency in carriers- carriers who are committed to their book of business or less prone to moving in or out of certain segments. Clients need long-term stability from their carriers and now more than ever, strong financials.

How are rates changing within the property insurance market? What is driving the rising rates?
Within the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in property catastrophe losses. Plus, prior to this period, the industry experienced more than 11 quarters of rate decreases which is the real impetus behind the pressure on rate in the property market. Prices had become so depressed that the market couldn’t pay for the normal attritional losses, let alone fund for large events or catastrophe losses. The market is in correction mode right now. Given what appears to be the new norm of more frequent, severe catastrophe losses, as insurers, we must seek pricing that is more aligned with the potential risk that we are assuming.

What are the advantages of AXA XL’s Property Platinum solution?
AXA XL’s Platinum Property Solution is one of the few 100% capacity solutions currently offered in the property space. We offer up to $1B of capacity in a broad, all risk form. Within in the market, AXA XL is widely recognized as a respected global leader in claims management. We are well positioned to serve our clients as our research capability and risk engineering services extend on a global basis. Clients of AXA XL can access the product through any of our property underwriters at any of our regional offices in the US and Canada.

 

Clients of AXA XL can access the product through any of our property underwriters at any of our regional offices in the US and Canada.

Which industries benefit most from the Platinum Property offering?
At AXA XL, we are not targeting a specific industry for this product, we are evaluating potential partners based on risk profile and quality. Some specific industries we currently work with include manufacturing, retail, healthcare, institutional and real estate. However, what is core to the success of this product is developing long term, stable relationships with our partners.

  • We see higher client retention within the Platinum Property program when compared with our shared/layered book. This tends to be higher for several reasons- we can get to know the client more intimately and develop longer term relationships;
  • We can tailor coverage needs of the clients based on better understanding of their risks; and
  • It is a more stable business from a pricing perspective, as it is less prone to swings in the marketplace.

Why should clients opt for 100% capacity as opposed to a shared layered placement?
AXA XL offers shared and layered solutions as well. Which type of product is best for a client depends on their needs. Those that opt for a Platinum approach to their program usually see benefit in:

  • Getting to know their carrier better through a longer-term relationship
  • More stable pricing through market swings
  • A more customized approach to loss control servicing developed over time

I want to emphasize that property risk engineering services have never been so important for our clients. Avoiding preventable losses from fire and explosion is key for our clients to remain able to consistently meet the needs of their customers and to maintain stable property insurance programs. Additionally, while we might not be able to control the weather, we can take more control over how well our properties can stand up to it. Our property risk engineers, who average more than 20 years of risk engineering experience and are some of the best in the industry, are eager to help.

For additional information regarding Platinum Property solutions, contact Jeff Williams at jeff.williams@axaxl.com 

 
  • About The Author
  • Senior Vice President, Product Line Leader, North America Property Platinum Accounts
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