Speaking exclusively with StrategicRISK, Franck Baron, risk manager of International SOS and chairman of PARIMA, says the merger is a sign that more M&A could be on the horizon

Following news overnight that AXA has agreed to buy XL Group for $15.3bn (AUD19.76 billion), StrategicRISK spoke to PARIMA chairman Franck Baron to get his thoughts on what this merger means for risk managers in the Asia Pacific market.

Baron said it is likely more merger and acquisition activity will follow this merger as capital and money is made available and investors and business alike ”look for a place to land.”

Baron added: ”Insurance M&A will continue as players are looking at consolidating market shares, operations and investments in order to cope with solvency, compliance and regulatory challenges. Big is beautiful in this sense.  I see this merger as a sign of appreciation regarding the criticality of the corporate risks segment.”

Baron warned a question mark remains regarding the ability of this trend to help the restoration of healthier combined loss ratios.

But Baron said, for risk managers, the news is only good. “Opportunity for insureds to see two companies combining their capabilities to truly provide the necessary expertise, footprint and underwriting appetite to support of growing risk coverage needs.”

”It does reduce buyer’s choice but it should provide us with a more solid player to answer our growingly sophisticated needs and support our operations and investments worldwide,” he added. 

Baron said the challenge for the two global insurance behemoths will be when it comes to gaining regulatory approval and then integration process which may distract XL Catlin/AXA people from their customer focus.