AXA Equitable Life Insurance
Among the major players in the life insurance game there are few companies as multinational, asdiversified as AXA Equitable. Headquartered in Paris, AXA has a major presence in Western Europe, Asia,the Middle East and, of course, North America.Based on revenue, it was rated the 73
largest company in the world according to Fortune Magazine in2009. Its 135,000 employees, believed to be the most in the financial services industry.As one might expect, a company as large and versatile as AXA (formally known as AXA Equitable) has along history. The company was originally known as Compagnie dAssurance Mutuelle when it wasfounded in France in the early 1800s. The current corporate structure came together in 1859. AXA wasable to survive the ravages of war at its doorstep, not once but twice during World War I and World WarII. Despite the influence of historical events, AXAs growth into the worlds leading insurer (a mantle itnow claims) has been steady. But its current composition and name is a somewhat recent development.
A Newer, Easier Name
After extending its reach a little further in 1982 by acquiring the Druout Group, the company decided tochange its name. Since it was multinational, and therefore multi-lingual, it wanted a name that could beeasily pronounced in any language. With AXA, they seem to have succeeded. It should be noted thatAXA, despite being capitalized, is not an acronym or abbreviation.In 1991, Equitable was acquired and then added to the name. A short time after, in 1992, the companyceased operations as a mutual insurer and became publicly traded. Since then, the company has growndramatically.As of June 30, 2009 AXA had over $500 billion assets under management.
AXA and its many subsidiaries are rated highly by independent rating agencies. However, in the summerof 2009, AM Best, downgraded AXA from Superior to Excellent due to concerns about the decline inassets under management within AXA's variable life and annuity lines.AXA is rated Aa3 by Moodys, AA by Standard and Poors and AA- by Fitch. Its important to emphasizethat the rating agencies still rate AXA as Excellent but that rating places it a notch below other insurerslike Met Life, New York Life and State Farm.The ratings provided by independent agencies are the best resource available to consumers in search of an assessment of a companys financial strength. The ratings reflect a companys ability to pay itspolicies should they become due. It may seem improbable that a company as large and diverse as AXAcould ever be in such a quandary, but many felt the same way about AIG.AXA has a full complement of financial products available for retirement, investing and insurancepurposes. Its featured Life Insurance product is called Athena Universal Life which is a permanent life