Yesterday AXA Insurance issued instructions to customer facing staff around how to respond to anyone who asks them about fox hunting either by email or voice. Unfortunately there was no context to this and a certain ambiguity around the wording required to be used.
Staff are advised to say that “we do not provide insurance to the hunting industry, this includes trail hunting and legal services for hunts”. This is perfectly correctly for AXA Insurance here in the UK. Historically the company did provide some legal insurance in this area but no longer does.
We have discussed with the company at UK and international level the ethics around insuring legal, but publicly unpopular risks, and are pleased to see AXA Insurance no longer underwriting risks like this. Globally AXA has an ethical investment policy, we are pushing for an ethical insurance one as well to help protect the brand which in turn protects jobs.
Unfortunately however it appears AXA as a whole globally does provide insurance for hunting. AXA XL (one of the groups international operations with its head office in the United States) does underwrite policies for a variety of hunting activities. Whilst this is nothing to do with AXA Insurance here in the UK, the distinction between AXA XL run from the US and AXA Insurance run from London are no doubt irrelevant to those campaigning about fox hunting and similar activities. AXA after all is AXA.
We intend to discuss the AXA XL issue further in the appropriate forum with Group management, but would urge members to follow the instructions issued yesterday and if the caller is unhappy with the response, or abusive, that they refer the matter to their line manager to deal with. We would also like members to let your local union rep know so we can see what additional action can be taken by AXA Insurance if required to make the messaging clearer to upset individuals and also protect our members.