Full year results 2014

AXA UK and Ireland earnings rise by 40% - the fourth consecutive year of double digit earnings growth

25 February 2015

Posted in Financial results

by Jennifer Chilcott (see media contact)

This morning, AXA Group published its full year 2014 results. The key highlights from AXA UK and Ireland’s contribution are:

  • Underlying earnings up 40% to £250 million (2013: £178 million)
  • General Insurance revenues rose by 3% to £3.8 billion (2013: £3.7 billion) with notable growth in Commercial Lines (+8%); UK Direct Motor (+8%) and Healthcare (+5%)
  • Underwriting profitability from UK & Ireland operations improved significantly. The combined operating ratio improved by 1.8pt to 97.1% (2013: 98.9%)
  • UK Life and Savings, including AXA Wealth and SunLife, moved sharply into profitability thanks to the delivery of cost savings combined with a 24% growth in assets on the Elevate wrap platform, now £9.2 billion, taking total AXA Wealth funds under management to £28.2 billion, a rise of 11% (2013: £25.5 billion). Funds under management with our multi-manager, Architas, increased 7% to £13.6 billion
  • AXA UK commits €20 million to provide start up finance, primarily to British entrepreneurs developing innovative ideas of benefit to the future of the insurance, healthcare and financial technology industries
Headshot of Paul Evans, AXA UK & Ireland Group Chief Executive

AXA UK has once again delivered strongly in 2014, achieving revenue growth whilst continuing to improve the quality of underwriting, contributing to a 40% rise in profitability – the fourth consecutive year of double digit earnings growth despite the evident challenges from economic and market headwinds over that period.

The turn-around of UK operations is progressing ahead of plan. AXA Wealth, retained from the disposal of AXA Life in 2010, is now profitable and well placed to take full advantage of the retirement reforms in April; the Commercial business now exceeds £1 billionII of GWP at a current year combined ratioV of 94.6%; and the Direct Motor business has returned to growth with a current year combined ratio of 97.7%.

Markets remain tough, and whilst every effort is made to reduce costs, and claims fraud so as to keep premiums down, there are clear signs that premium rates must soon increase in some sectors. For example, with the still anticipated benefits from personal injury reforms reflected fully in reduced motor premiums, premiums must surely rise this year to take account of the increasing frequency of accidents that can already be seen from increased car usage as lower fuel costs and the wider economic recovery take effect – both here and in Ireland.

I am very pleased with the progress across all our businesses in 2014 and whilst we remain focused on delivering the final year of our existing strategy, we are turning now to develop our next five year plan to 2020. This will be an exciting period during which time business models must evolve to respond to developing customer needs and ways of doing business. Never has it been more important to place the customer at the heart of everything we do – as we've already demonstrated. Our business practices will continue to be reformed to earn the trust of our customers, we will also develop new propositions that engage the customer beyond the normal touch points of purchase, renewal and claim and will responsibly harness customer data to provide truly bespoke products, services and experiences.

We are entering a period during which product and service model innovation will be crucial to success across all our markets. We are therefore announcing today an initial commitment of €20 million to provide start-up finance, primarily to British entrepreneurs, aiming to bring innovative ideas to market that could have relevance to our customers. The commitment will be managed by a new AXA Group entity, AXA Strategic Ventures, which will deploy up to €200 million in start-up finance across Europe.

Paul Evans, Group Chief Executive at AXA UK & Ireland