Keep on learning; how we can help our industry raise the bar


Learning and development plays a crucial role in readying our industry for the challenges ahead. And we all recognise the need to attract and retain talent to our industry as it modernises and evolves. Elie Hanna, chief distribution officer UK & Lloyd’s at AXA XL, discusses how our company is working to support training initiatives across the market.

Addressing the talent gap is one of the biggest challenges our industry faces. We need to find ways to attract young people, from diverse backgrounds, to give us the diversity of thought and skillset we will need as we face the evolving risks of our clients and their changing needs.

Once we’ve attracted talent, we need to ensure we can retain it, by engendering continuous learning opportunities and encouraging curiosity and entrepreneurship. Putting learning and development at the heart of our company’s culture is important. But this cannot be done in isolation. To raise the bar in our own company we need to be part of a move to raise the bar across the whole industry.

It’s important to us, as an insurer, that we’re supporting also our clients to learn and to develop; as risks evolve, and the discourse changes, our industry needs to have the insights and skills that will help clients to assess, manage, mitigate and transfer those risks in the most effective ways possible.

That’s why, as part of our ambition to work widely across the market to help boost professional standards, AXA XL has for some time been a partner of UK risk management association, Airmic, and a sponsor of its Academy. The Airmic Academy delivers a varied program of learning and development opportunities for risk professionals at all stages of their careers.

Brokers, of course, play a vital role in working with clients, both as intermediaries but also increasingly in an advisory capacity – it’s again important, therefore, that the brokers we work with are also continually learning, to ensure that that whole risk ecosystem keeps abreast with the changing landscape.

In 2021, we launched our AXA XL Broker Academy, a virtual eight-week program for 30 young brokers from across the UK. The launch of the Broker Academy was an important step in our efforts to try to help bolster professional standards across our marketplace and equip the next generation of insurance leaders with the skills they will need in the evolving risk landscape.

The Broker Academy program was designed in consultation with London market and UK regional broking firms to ensure it met the needs of young professionals. Using a blended, interactive approach, the first programme covered three areas: The Best You; The Market; The Power of Collaboration.

As well as working on developing the skills of these young brokers, we wanted the programme to help them to build the profiles and networks to help them throughout their careers.

We were delighted with the results of the first Broker Academy and just last month welcomed the 2022 contingent of young brokers.

Across the market

One of the strengths – and beauties – of the London insurance market is it has many different moving parts. The delegated underwriting authority sector is one such and a vital part of what makes London such a vibrant hub of expertise, offering capacity for the often unusual, sometimes tricky-to-place, risks that come the market’s way.

If the market is to continue to be able to compete to underwrite our clients’ complex and evolving risks, we need to attract a diverse group of professionals to this area of the industry too.

This is one of the reasons we’re sponsoring the Managing General Agents’ Association’s Next Generation group, which aims to represent the future of the MGA community and promote market growth through innovative training and education opportunities.

The Next Generation group aims to create a forum for topical collaboration, provide a nation-wide platform for individuals and organisations to share insight and knowledge and inspire entrepreneurship through mentoring, among other things. In conjunction with the UK Chartered Insurance Institute, the MGAA has created an e-based learning program aimed at boosting professional standards.

We are very much looking forward to working with the MGAA Next Generation group over the coming months to explore the ways that we can all learn and develop and better understand the role delegated underwriting capacity will play in the future of risk transfer.

As the great automotive pioneer Henry Ford once said: “Anyone who stops learning is old – whether at 20 or at 80.” Our industry is modernising; the risks our clients face are evolving. We all need to continue learning to ensure our industry is equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities that exist today and those that are to come.


About AXA XL

AXA XL is the P&C and specialty risk division of AXA which provides property, casualty, professional and speciality products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises, here in the UK and throughout the world. With underwriting teams based in the US, UK, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, we can make decisions close to the markets you serve and work with you to tailor cover to your business needs.

We help businesses adapt and thrive amidst change. Rather than just paying covered claims when things go wrong, we go beyond protection into prevention so your business can go beyond the unexpected.

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