This case traces the journey of the AXA group, one of the top three insurance providers globally from 2016 to 2019 under the leadership of newly appointed CEO, Thomas Buberl.
During this period, the insurance industry faced strong headwinds – persistent low interest rates, weak financial markets, evolving customer expectations, new types of risks associated with cyber, health and natural catastrophes, as well as widespread disruption from the new breed of insurtech players. Buberl’s strategy rested on two pillars – focus to drive efficiency in the company’s core business and transform to prepare it for the digital age by developing new capabilities and value propositions to allow it to shift from a payer-to-partner business model.
Buberl’s biggest move, contrary to market expectations, was a pivot in AXA’s portfolio from life and savings to commercial property and casualty (P&C), achieved through the US$15.3 billion acquisition of US-based XL Group, making AXA the largest P&C player globally. Other moves included increasing its focus on the health insurance segment, accelerating growth in Asia, and launching a new business unit – AXA Next – to build an innovation ecosystem focused on developing services and business models beyond insurance.
However, competition from both traditional insurers and niche players was intense as a wave of M&As swept across the industry. The rules of the game were changing fast. Could AXA maintain its leadership position? And if so, how?
The case deals with:
- Identifying the strategic shifts in an industry.
- Developing a roadmap to address the challenges and opportunities thrown up by the evolution of an industry.
- Understanding the role of innovation and new business models in order to remain relevant in a fast-changing world.
- Dealing with new types and levels of competition.