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  • Our history

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  • The AXA Group has a long and distinguished history, stretching back to the 18th Century.

    After a succession of mergers‚ acquisitions and name changes‚ the name AXA was first introduced in 1985.


    Amanda Blanc was appointed Group Chief Executive, AXA UK.

    AXA sold its wealth management business, AXA Wealth and its independent insurance broker, Bluefin.


    AXA was selected to be part of two Government funded initiatives to pilot driverless cars in the UK - VENTURER, the Bristol based consortium, and the UK Autodrive Project in Milton Keynes and Coventry. AXA also acquired Simplyhealth’s private medical insurance (PMI) business and for the seventh year running was named by Interbrand as the leading global insurance brand.


    Paul Evans, Group Chief Executive, AXA UK, was elected by the Board of the Association of British Insurers to become its Chairman.


    AXA sold its financial planning business, Bluefin Personal Consulting, to Towry.


    In March, AXA UK completed the acquisition of specialist on-line health insurance provider, Health-on-Line. In April, AXA sold Bluefin Corporate Consulting to Capita plc for £50 million.


    AXA sold Denplan to Simplyhealth Group.


    Following an operational review, we strengthened our focus on wealth management, insurance and healthcare, and our independent insurance broker Bluefin. We sold our traditional life and pensions, protection and group pensions business in a deal worth £2.75 billion.


    In January we launched Bluefin, an advisory and broking business that provides professional insurance broking, risk management services, corporate consulting and wealth management.

    In 2009 we also brought all our wealth businesses together to form a single business unit, AXA Wealth.


    In March AXA acquired SBJ Group Limited, to enhance its distribution capability. In July we created Architas, a specialist investment company that provides multi-manager propositions. In October AXA created its new wealth business, AXA Winterthur Wealth Management.


    We made a number of strategically important acquisitions which included Swiftcover, ICAS International Holdings Limited and The Davis Group


    AXA continued its growth strategy with the acquisition of Winterthur Wealth Management, a market leader in personal pensions and investments distributed mainly through Independent Financial Advisers.


    In July we completed the acquisition of a minority shareholding in Sun Life and Provincial Holdings.

    In September, the name of the holding company changed to AXA UK plc, which it retains to this day.


    In February, Sun Life and Provincial Holdings announced a public offer for GRE. The acquisition was completed in May.


    GRE acquired the PPP healthcare group, a major brand in the marketplace that would become the second largest provider of private medical insurance in the UK, as well as expanding internationally.

    AXA sponsored the FA Cup in the UK, generating significant brand awareness among football fans and the general public.


    AXA was listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Sun Life and Provincial Holdings (SLPH) was listed on the London Stock Exchange.

    In November, the AXA-UAP merger was announced. SLPH was now part of the global AXA Group, becoming its major subsidiary in the UK.


    AXA took over The Equitable, the North American life assurance company.

    1981 – 1990

    In the eighties the AXA name was created and the AXA Université was launched. The decade also saw AXA merge with Compagnie du Midi and trade on the Paris Stock Exchange. UAP also became a major shareholder in Sun Life, in the UK. In 1990 AXA Insurance was formed in Cardiff.

    1901 - 1980

    These years saw the first in a series of mergers which would eventually create AXA.

    During this period the Guardian Royal Exchange Group (GRE) was formed through a merger of Guardian Assurance and Royal Exchange Assurance. In the same year, 1968, the Union des Assurances de Paris (UAP) was created.

    1700 - 1900

    The 18th and 19th centuries saw the creation of many of the companies which later combined to form parts of the global AXA Group. These included Royal Exchange Assurance, the world's first marine insurer, which was granted legal status in 1720.