AXA UK&I has bought the renewal rights to Ageas UK’s commercial lines business, which will involve renewals transfer to AXA Commercial from July this year.

The deal, with an initial consideration of £47.5m, will see nearly 100 Ageas UK staff joining AXA Commercial.

These employees will continue to operate out of Ageas’s Gloucester office, where AXA will now lease space.

Ageas UK will, however, retain current back book policies.

The firm will also continue to manage all policies till they are underwritten by AXA Commercial at renewal.

Both the firms will work on facilitating a smooth transition for brokers, customers, and staff.

This deal aligns with AXA’s plan to bolster its commercial business in the SME and Schemes market. This market covers offices and surgeries, homeworkers, shopkeepers, property owners, and tradespeople, among others.  

On the part of Ageas, the emphasis will now be on the growth of its intermediated Personal lines business.

Ageas UK CEO Ant Middle said: “The sale of our Commercial lines business is an important step in our strategy to focus on growing our heartland of intermediated Personal lines business, particularly where it’s traded electronically.

“While we’ve modestly grown in Commercial lines over the last couple of years, our focus is now elsewhere.” 

AXA Commercial CEO Jon Walker said: “This acquisition is a positive step in the growth of our commercial business and further cements our commitment to the SME and Schemes market segments.

“I look forward to welcoming the new members of the AXA Commercial team and the additional underwriting and operational expertise they bring.”

Last year, Ageas UK offloaded its 50.1% interest in Tesco Underwriting, a non-life joint venture between Ageas UK and Tesco Bank.

The stake was sold to Tesco Bank for £123m in a deal, which also included a £21m reimbursement of an internal loan to Ageas.