AXA delivered a very strong operating performance in the first half of 2018, with a 6% increase in underlying earnings per share, towards the top end of our Ambition 2020 target range. This result was supported by a strong increase in technical profitability across all our businesses.
Our simplified operating model is bearing fruit. We have a strong growth dynamic across our geographies, especially in France and Europe, and in our preferred segments with Protection new business volumes up 10% and Health revenues up 7%.
In the first half of 2018, we have taken major steps in our transformation journey through the successful listing of our US operations and our strategic decision to acquire the XL Group. We also announced innovative partnerships with ING and Uber, the transformation of our Swiss Group Life business and the planned disposal of AXA Life Europe*.
I would like to thank all our colleagues and partners who have been working together to deliver these results and transformation initiatives, which will help us create sustainable value for our customers and our shareholders.