Weak dollar hits global insurer's first-quarter revenues

It did well on its home turf, but things aren’t so rosy elsewhere

Weak dollar hits global insurer's first-quarter revenues

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Global insurer AXA has reported how it fared in the first quarter of 2018, and perhaps you could say it’s a tale of two currencies.  

From gross revenues of €31.6 billion (about US$38.9 billion / SG$50.4billion) in the first quarter of 2017, AXA posted a 2.7% drop to €30.8 billion (about US$37.9 billion / SGD$49.1 billion) for the same period this year. The firm's announcement noted the exchange rates for the respective quarters, with that for 2018 showing the weakness of the US dollar against the euro (2017: €1=$1.07; 2018: €1=$1.23).

According to a Reuters report, a minimum of 15 to 20% of AXA's revenues is derived in dollars – meaning the exchange rate difference, especially when of considerable amount, could change the numbers story. In fact, AXA said its revenues grew 2.2% on a comparable basis or at constant forex.              

Things have been otherwise rosy, particularly on the insurer’s home turf.

“AXA’s French operations recorded an excellent performance in the first quarter, notably with a very strong growth in health, savings, and protection,” said AXA’s deputy CEO and group CFO Gérald Harlin. “We also continued to grow our topline, as well as further improve our business mix, in Europe and in Asia.

“Growth in health revenues remained a highlight, further reinforcing our global leadership position in this preferred and organically growing segment.”

In addition, AXA reported a higher Solvency II ratio – 221%, from 2017’s 205% – which Harlin said is indicative of the underlying strength and flexibility of the company’s balance sheet.

“We are resolutely focused on reshaping AXA’s profile towards our preferred segments, both through our new business mix, and of course through the strategic decisions to list our US operations and acquire the XL Group,” he noted. “We also continue to reshape our in-force operations, the transformation of our group life business in Switzerland being a very successful achievement.”

Last month AXA Switzerland announced the conversion of its business model from a full-value insurance model into one that is semi-autonomous, potential benefits of which include enhanced cash remittance over the next three years.


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