Thomas Buberl was all smiles during the presentation of Axa’s annual results at the end of February: “The group has successfully transformed!” Since his arrival in 2016 at the head of the number two European insurance company, the Franco-German leader has undertaken to redirect the huge liner, hitherto focused on life insurance, savings and retirement, towards damage insurance.
An activity with less volatile returns. The acquisition of the American group XL, based in Bermuda, had become the symbol of this shift. This investment at a high price – 12.4 billion euros, i.e. 11 times its results – brought a group focused on damage insurance for large companies and specialized insurance (works of art, aviation, rockets, etc.) . But this coup – the first mark of the Buberl leg, barely a year and a half after Henri de Castries’ heir apparent took over the reins of the group – was then freshly welcomed by the markets, then long scrutinized by investors.