“In the first half of 2020, AXA demonstrated its resilience in the challenging context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenues were down 2%, to Euro 52 billion, reflecting strong growth in the first quarter offset by lower business activity in the second quarter. Growth in Health remained strong throughout the first six months of the year, at +9%, and price increases in P&C Commercial lines continued to accelerate.
The Group’s underlying earnings were Euro 1.9 billion, down 48%, and were up 1% excluding Covid-19 claims*** and the disposal of Equitable Holdings. The impact of Covid-19 on AXA’s earnings was in line with our previously published guidance. Commercial lines were the most impacted, notably at AXA XL. The rest of the Group was resilient, with the impacts from Covid-19 claims largely offset by lower frequency in Motor and growth in Health and Asset Management.
AXA’s Solvency II ratio was resilient at 180%, its debt gearing was reduced by 1.2 points to 27.6%, and cash remittance amounted to Euro 4.9 billion, confirming the strength of the Group’s balance sheet in volatile market conditions.
AXA’s strategic vision and business profile shift are more relevant than ever, notably with its growing and profitable Health business, and an unparalleled opportunity to benefit from the hardening pricing cycle in P&C Commercial lines. With a clear focus on technical risks, the Group is well positioned for a prolonged period of low interest rates.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the critical role of insurance in protecting societies and supporting economic recovery. This conviction is encapsulated in our new purpose ‘Acting for human progress by protecting what matters’. As a global insurance leader and investor, the Group continues to take ambitious measures to meet the major challenges of our time, aligning post-Covid recovery strategies with our long-standing commitment to facilitate the green economy transition.
Our people are key to the Group’s performance, and I wish to thank all our employees, agents and partners, for their unwavering commitment to provide support and undisrupted service to our clients during these challenging times.