WIL: AXA XL's Michele Sansone focuses on commercial property & risk

WIL: AXA XL's Michele Sansone focuses on commercial property & risk

Michele Sansone is the president of AXA XL’s North America commercial property insurance business, responsible for directing property underwriting activities and overseeing the global network of risk engineers who provide on-site risk analysis and property loss prevention programs. Sansone manages a gross written premium book of over $800 million in commercial property business, which is no small feat in the face of escalating challenges posed by extreme weather events, rising inflation and the ever-evolving landscape of the property insurance market.

 Michele Sansone, president of AXA XL’s North America commercial property insurance business.


Despite these challenges, Sansone’s approach to leadership and innovation has propelled the company’s book of business towards profitability.

“With more than 30 years serving the global property market, Michele’s knowledge of managing large global property risks is unparalleled. She is high energy and passionate about delivering global property protection with personal service. She keeps our team moving in the right direction, building on our profitable track record,” says Joe Tocco, CEO of AXA XL’s Americas region.

Along with her team of underwriters, Sansone has embraced technology in transforming commercial property protection. Under her leadership, the property division team has adopted various digital tools to enhance risk assessment, improve modeling and analytics and provide a more efficient process for their clients. For example, to address the inadequacies they found with FEMA’s flood maps, Sansone’s team adopted advanced flood mapping tools from JBA Consulting, a global hydrology consultancy. These tools offer up-to-date hazard data, filling gaps in FEMA’s data and providing valuable information for assessing flood risk. 

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The team introduced a digital risk assessment tool, as well, during the Covid-10 pandemic. The Risk Scanning solution facilitates thorough and cost-effective risk assessments across all business properties and allows engineers to customize risk surveys that cover fire, intrusion, natural hazards, cyber threats and other property aspects. Made possible with this tool, AXA XL proposes protective actions and recommendations to mitigate these risks using external data that analyzes each location and calculates risk variables.

Sansone and her team have also been working to extend the AXA XL Ecosystem, a suite of technology solutions originally designed for construction business, to commercial property clients. The technologies offered include Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors that detect water intrusion and seismic activity, which enable real-time data collection and monitoring of various property aspects that offer risk-related insights.

Recognizing the value of data and analytics in insurance, Sansone led the implementation of the Broker Pipeline Management tool, an AI-powered analytics tool that enables the underwriting teams to prioritize their focus on the most profitable new business opportunities. By proactively testing and implementing this tool, Sansone’s team have introduced a solution that will benefit other businesses as well. 

Sansone and her team have expressed their admiration for the tool’s analytics quality, emphasizing its capacity to yield invaluable insights and enhance the consistency and predictability of decision-making. The practice of data-driven decision-making in underwriting, facilitated by this tool, empowers the team to make effective choices in risk selection and pricing, ultimately amplifying the value delivered to both clients and brokers. This efficiency also allows underwriters to spend more time providing personalized service to their clients.

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“The Broker Pipeline Management tool really helps us in demonstrating the breadth of business that we can offer. This makes it especially valuable for us in the U.S. market, where there is less AXA brand awareness than in the rest of the world,” says Sansone. 

Outside of her professional endeavors, Sansone dedicates much of her time to a number of charities. Since 1998, Sansone has sponsored the Tom Joyce Scholarship Fund Golf Outing, which benefits St. John’s School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science. She also serves on the board of the Spencer Educational Foundation, which awards scholarships and grants to students in insurance-related studies. Sansone previously facilitated a relationship between the Spencer Foundation and the Aon Property Symposium, in which a scholarship and conference attendance is awarded to a university student. The scholarship was given to an actuarial science student from Illinois State University this year.