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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The company was founded in 1816 as Mutuelle de L’assurance contre L’incendie (the Ancienne Mutuelle).[4] It acquired Compagnie Parisienne de Garantie in 1978 and became Mutuelles Unies.[5] It went on to buy the Drouot Group in 1982, becoming Mutuelles Unies/Drouot. It adopted the AXA name in 1985.[5] The takeover of the American insurance company The Equitable, came in 1991.[5] It bought Union des Assurances De Paris (UAP), France’s largest insurer, in 1996 becoming AXA-UAP for a while before reverting to the name AXA in 1999.[6] Then in February 1999 AXA acquired Guardian Royal Exchange.[7] In May 2000 AXA acquired all shares it did not already own in Sun Life & Provincial Holdings.[8] On June 14, 2006 AXA acquired the leading Swiss insurance company Winterthur Group from Credit Suisse for approximately �,�9 billion.[9] On September 12, 2018, AXA completed the acquisition of Bermuda based XL Group Ltd, a leading global Property & Casualty commercial lines insurer and reinsurer for $15.3 billion.[10]

According to a 2011 paper by Vitali et al., AXA was the second most powerful transnational corporation in terms of ownership and thus corporate control over global financial stability and market competition with Barclays and State Street Corporation taking the 1st and 3rd position, respectively.[11][12]

During May 2016, it announced it was to stop investing in tobacco shares and bonds and allow its portfolio of tobacco-related bonds to run off.[13]


Despite being written in upper case, “AXA” is not an acronym, but was chosen because its name can be pronounced easily by people who speak any language. After acquiring the Drouot Group in 1982, Chairman and CEO Claude Bébéar hired an outside consultant to conduct a computer-aided search for a new name. Bébéar wanted a short and snappy name to convey vitality and could be pronounced the same way in every language, consistent with the group’s desire for an international presence. Initially, “Elan” was the top choice, but Canadian executives balked because “elan” is the French word for a moose or elk. In 1985, Bébéar chose the name AXA

AXA trades in the United Kingdom as AXA UK using a number of subsidiaries such as AXA Sun Life, AXA Insurance, AXA Investment Managers, AXA Wealth and AXA PPP Healthcare. AXA PPP Healthcare was created when AXA bought Guardian Royal Exchange (GRE), though it subsequently sold the other parts of GRE to Aegon. The company also owns the online insurer Swiftcover, distribution business Bluefin and fund manager Architas. In January 2007 AXA was reorganised into “strategic business units” (SBU’s) aimed at competing within their specific markets.

In September 2013, AXA Wealth was fined £1.8m by the FCA for failing to ensure it gave suitable investment advice to its customers. The regulator says it found “serious defects” in the way AXA advisers in Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and the West Bromwich Building Society advised customers on investments.[15]

AXA runs its investment branch through AXA Investment Managers (IM).

AXA Sun Life

AXA Sun Life was created following the merger between AXA Equity & Law and Sun Life Assurance Society PLC. In 2006 Winterthur Life in the UK was absorbed although AXA continues to use the Winterthur brand for high-net-worth wealth management business. The business units are:[16]

  • AXA Wealth – This includes AXA + Winterthur’s Bonds + Individual Pensions, AXA Distribution Services who offer the Elevate wrap platform and Architas.
  • Corporate Business – AXA + Winterthur’s Group Pensions. AXA intend to create a “Market Leading” group pension proposition using Winterthur’s ‘Embassy’ IT platform.
  • Protection – This business aims to market AXA’s Protection Account as AXA continues to build on its presence in this area with the intention of becoming a leading protection provider.
  • Traditional Business – Concentrating on policies which are still in force but no longer actively marketed.
  • SunLife[17] – This business focuses solely on selling protection & savings products directly to those in the UK.
  • Bancassurance – This business is responsible for an advisory and sales force that sell AXAs products and propositions.

AXA sold AXA Sun Life Holdings Ltd to Resolution Limited in autumn 2010,[18][19] whilst retaining AXA Wealth (including Architas and the Elevate wrap platform), SunLife and Bancassurance business units. Closure of the Bancassurance arm was announced in April 2013.[20]

AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare is a UK private medical insurance provider. AXA PPP healthcare was originally known as The London Association of Hospital Services, which was set up in 1938 as a private healthcare scheme for people of middle income in London. The company has its headquarters in the town of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England, and is the town’s largest private sector employer. AXA PPP healthcare provides individual private medical insurance for individuals and business as well as employee assistance programmes. AXA PPP healthcare also has a main office in Leicester, East Midlands, England.

In 2009, AXA PPP International was created, catering for the expatriate health cover market.

In 2018, it launched a virtual doctor service, called Global Care on Demand, for its customers with outpatient cover. Provided by Advance Medical it offers access to medical advice by phone or video by doctors located in eight main hubs around the world who speak more than 20 languages, and is targeted at expatriates.[21]