This company definitely has what it takes to be equitable. AXA Equitable Life Insurance is the US life insurance and annuities underwriting arm of its globe-spanning ultimate parent, AXA. The company has some 2.3 million life insurance policies in force, and is licensed throughout the US and Puerto Rico. Policies are sold through affiliates AXA Advisors (retail brokerage) and AXA Distributors (wholesale brokerage that sells to independent brokers and advisors), as well as corporate sales representatives. AXA Equitable, a subsidiary of AXA Financial, offers investment management services through affiliate Alliance Bernstein; together the firms have about $570 billion in assets under management.
Founded in 1859 as The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, or Equitable Life, the company became part of the AXA group in 1992 and in 2004 took on its parent's name. AXA Equitable's long history includes many innovations in the insurance industry. The company was the first in New York to gain approval to market variable annuities (long-term retirement savings products), which now account for about 70% of the company's total premiums and deposits. It also was a leader in the development of variable life insurance, the first investment-based life insurance product available in the US.
AXA Equitable's customers primarily include individuals, small to midsized companies, and professional trade associations. In addition to its retail and wholesale channels, in 2008 AXA Equitable launched a third line of distribution by forming its Corporate Markets division, which focuses on providing retirement plan services for large employers and their employees.
The company has taken a hit financially as it has been impacted by the global economic crisis during 2008 and 2009. AXA Equitable posted a net income loss in 2009, primarily due to investments in derivative instruments related to its variable annuity products, as well as due to reinsurance contract adjustments and a depreciation of assets held by its investment management affiliates. To offset losses, the company is working to increase efficiencies and reduce operating costs by making workforce reduction and location consolidation efforts.
At the end of 2010 parent AXA Financial appointed a new CEO, Mark Pearson, to lead the US life insurance division. The change was made upon the retirement of global life CEO Kip Condron. – minder