AXA Insurance Group 'AA-' Ratings Affirmed After Announcement Of IPO Of U.S. Subsidiaries; Outlook Stable

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1 Research Update: AXA Insurance Group 'AA-' Ratings Affirmed After Announcement Of IPO Of U.S. Subsidiaries; Primary Credit Analyst: Taos D Fudji, Milan (39) ; Secondary Contacts: Lotfi Elbarhdadi, Paris (33) ; Anthony J Beato, New York (1) ; Elizabeth A Campbell, New York (1) ; Table Of Contents Overview Rating Action Rationale Outlook Related Criteria Ratings List MAY 10, S&P Global Ratings. All rights reserved. No reprint or dissemination without S&P Global Ratings' permission. See Terms of Use/Disclaimer on the

2 Research Update: AXA Insurance Group 'AA-' Ratings Affirmed After Announcement Of IPO Of U.S. Subsidiaries; Overview On May 10, 2017, AXA insurance group announced plans to pursue an IPO of a minority stake of its U.S. life insurance and asset-management operations. Because of this announcement, we now view AXA's U.S. life entities as strategic to the group instead of core, and as a result, we lowered our ratings on these companies by one notch (see "AXA Financial Inc. Downgraded To A- And Placed On CreditWatch Negative; AXA Financial Group Downgraded To A+ "). We are affirming our ratings on the other AXA insurance subsidiaries that we view as core or highly strategic to the group. The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the group's capital and earnings will remain strong over the next two years. Rating Action On May 10, 2017, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'AA-' counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on the entities that we continue to view as core or highly strategic to France-based insurance group AXA (this excludes the company's U.S.-based life insurance subsidiaries, which we now view as only strategic to the group). We also affirmed our ratings on the holding company, AXA SA. The outlook on all of these entities is stable. For more details on our ratings action on AXA's U.S.-based life insurance companies, please see "AXA Financial Inc. Downgraded To A- And Placed On CreditWatch Negative; AXA Financial Group Downgraded To A+," also published today. Rationale On May 10, 2017, AXA announced plans to pursue an IPO of a minority stake of its U.S. life insurance and asset-management operations in the first half of These entities are held under the AXA Financial Inc. holding company. If the IPO is successful, we believe AXA's stake in AXA Financial could decline gradually. Based on this announcement, we now view the U.S. life insurance entities that are going to be part of the IPO as strategically important to AXA rather than core. MAY 10,

3 Research Update: AXA Insurance Group 'AA-' Ratings Affirmed After Announcement Of IPO Of U.S. Subsidiaries; We affirmed our ratings on the other AXA subsidiaries that we view as core or highly strategic to the group. We also view the highly strategic importance of AXA Bank Europe as unchanged. We do not believe that the IPO is necessarily the beginning of a wider trend to divest from other countries where the company has had a long-term presence. Rather, in our view, the large size of AXA's U.S. life insurance business relative to the other parts of the group makes it both attractive for an IPO and exposes the AXA group to significant financial risks. We believe the IPO would help reduce AXA's exposure to financial risk, which is one of the group's key objectives. With 174 billion in insurance liabilities at end 2016, AXA's U.S. life insurance business accounts for over 25% of group insurance liabilities. Our strategic assessment of AXA U.S. life's importance to the parent group reflects our view that it remains a large contributor to group profits (about 17% of profits--including asset management--in 2016). We also expect AXA to remain supportive of the U.S. life operations, as its announcement that it will convert a US$1 billion intracompany loan to AXA Financial into equity demonstrates. The affirmation of the ratings on AXA Group's core and highly strategic subsidiaries reflects our view that AXA Group will maintain strong capital and earnings over the next two years based on our capital model, managing its growth in capital requirements in line with its capital generation. We expect that the group's capital adequacy--according to our capital model--will remain below but near the 'AA' level. AXA intends to use the proceeds of the IPO primarily to expand into less-capital-intensive insurance activities, namely health, life protection, and property/casualty insurance. These objectives are in line with its recently announced Ambition 2020 plan, which focuses on efficiency gains and growth in products that are lower risk and less capital-intensive. We continue to view the group's business risk profile as very strong: Even without the U.S. life insurance operations, AXA's revenues would still exceed 80 billion, with leading market positions in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and U.K. property/casualty. In addition, AXA Group's life business margins are, on average, higher than the margin of the U.S. life insurance business, and AXA would retain good earnings-generation capacity of over 5 billion without its U.S. life business. We thus continue to view AXA's credit profile as in line with an 'aa-' anchor, based on our view that its financial risk profile sits firmly at the strong level and that the group's broad geographical and product diversity would remain supportive of this higher anchor. Outlook The stable outlook reflects our view that AXA will maintain strong capital and earnings, without taking on additional investment risk, over the next two years. We factor into our view the group's focus on operational efficiency and MAY 10,

4 Research Update: AXA Insurance Group 'AA-' Ratings Affirmed After Announcement Of IPO Of U.S. Subsidiaries; move toward more capital-light products as part of its Ambition 2020 plan. This should help offset downward pressure on earnings from low interest rates. Downside scenario We could consider lowering the ratings on AXA if capital adequacy was likely to be sustainably below our current forecasts. This could result from, for example, higher investment risk, lower-than-expected retained earnings, or a material acceleration in the pace of acquisitions after the IPO. Upside scenario A potential upgrade of the AXA Group is unlikely in our view and would hinge on a further improvement in the group's capitalization, combined with a more resilient business profile. Related Criteria General Criteria: Methodology For Linking Long-Term And Short-Term Ratings, April 7, 2017 General Criteria: Group Rating Methodology, Nov. 19, 2013 Criteria - Insurance - General: Enterprise Risk Management, May 7, 2013 Criteria - Insurance - General: Insurers: Rating Methodology, May 7, 2013 General Criteria: Methodology: Management And Governance Credit Factors For Corporate Entities And Insurers, Nov. 13, 2012 Criteria - Insurance - General: Refined Methodology And Assumptions For Analyzing Insurer Capital Adequacy Using The Risk-Based Insurance Capital Model, June 7, 2010 General Criteria: Use Of CreditWatch And Outlooks, Sept. 14, 2009 Criteria - Insurance - General: Hybrid Capital Handbook: September 2008 Edition, Sept. 15, 2008 Ratings List Ratings Affirmed AXA Counterparty Credit Rating A/Stable/A-1 Senior Unsecured A Subordinated BBB+ Junior Subordinated BBB Commercial Paper A-1 AXA Belgium DBV Deutsche Beamten-Versicherung AG AXA Versicherungen AG AXA Versicherung AG AXA Lebensversicherung AG AXA Krankenversicherung AG MAY 10,

5 Research Update: AXA Insurance Group 'AA-' Ratings Affirmed After Announcement Of IPO Of U.S. Subsidiaries; AXA Insurance U.K. PLC AXA France Vie AXA France IARD Counterparty Credit Rating Financial Strength Rating AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance AXA Insurance Co. Financial Strength Rating AXA France IARD Financial Enhancement Rating Financial Assurance Co. Ltd. Financial Insurance Co. Ltd. Counterparty Credit Rating Financial Strength Rating AA-/Stable/-- AA-/Stable/-- AA-/Stable/-- AA-/--/-- A+/Stable/-- A+/Stable/-- Additional Contact: Insurance Ratings Europe; Certain terms used in this report, particularly certain adjectives used to express our view on rating relevant factors, have specific meanings ascribed to them in our criteria, and should therefore be read in conjunction with such criteria. Please see Ratings Criteria at for further information. Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect at and at spcapitaliq.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on the S&P Global Ratings' public website at Use the Ratings search box located in the left column. Alternatively, call one of the following S&P Global Ratings numbers: Client Support Europe (44) ; London Press Office (44) ; Paris (33) ; Frankfurt (49) ; Stockholm (46) ; or Moscow 7 (495) MAY 10,

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