AXA is combining its businesses in Asia and Africa, with AXA Asia chief executive Gordon Watson (pictured) taking on an expanded remit.
Previously, the AXA Asia business included the markets of Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. This will now expand to include the African and Middle East markets of Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal. Additional Asian markets, namely India, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, will also be added under the umbrella, which will be known as AXA Asia & Africa.
According to AXA, this move is part of its new strategic plan “Driving Progress 2023”, which seeks to harness the rapidly growing markets across Africa and Asia, with special focus on health, as marked by the recent opening of AXA OneHealth and its 16 clinics across Egypt. This, the company said, reflects its commitment to an inclusive vision of health equity, with improved health outcomes for all.
The AXA Asia & Africa business will also incorporate AXA Emerging Customers, the insurer’s unit focused on closing the protection gap in the low-income to mass market segments. Customers in these segments are often under-insured due to a lack of access and familiarity with relevant and affordable insurance products. By 2023, AXA Emerging Customers aims to protect 25 million customers as their first insurer, through partnerships with leading institutions from both public and private sectors.
“I am excited to be taking on oversight of our mature and emerging markets across Asia and Africa, as well as Lebanon,” said Watson. “This will enable AXA to deliver more holistic solutions that span the spectrum of customer needs, enabling us to fulfil our role as being partners in their life journey. We will continue to develop innovative, holistic solutions that will be tailored to meet the unique needs of each market. I look forward to strengthening AXA’s footprint in these key markets and consolidating our leadership in the industry.”
Watson became the insurer’s Asia CEO in 2018, presiding over a period of strong growth in the region. Before joining AXA, he held senior leadership roles in AIA and AIG across multiple continents, including Africa. Gordon is also the founding chair of the Hong Kong branch of Shared Value Initiative, a non-profit organisation that seeks to help businesses in aligning profit and purpose to address social issues.