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«We are the solution provider for pension funds»

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The autonomous market is undergoing significant change. Learn in an interview with Patricia Mattle, Head of Autonomous Market, what AXA is doing to meet the challenges, and what solutions AXA is offering pension funds.

Ms. Mattle, you worked abroad for AXA for six years. Since March, you've been responsible for the "autonomous market." This area of AXA develops holistic solutions for pension funds. How do you see the market after your first six months in office?

The Swiss market has changed a lot in my absence and is more dynamic than six years ago. At the same time, the needs of the pension funds have become more multifaceted and more complex. What pleases me in particular is that we at AXA offer solutions that allow us to accompany and support pension funds, companies and people as partners in difficult situations.

You say that the challenges facing the pension funds have become more multifaceted and more complex. What do you mean by that?

Pension funds insure us and our loved ones against the financial consequences of disability, death and old age. To do this, every pension fund must take the measures necessary to be able to meet its performance promise vis-à-vis the insured. In an environment of increasing life expectancy and, at the same time, low interest rates, this is very demanding. In addition, regulations are becoming ever more complex and there is pressure to digitize the administration.

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    Personal details

    Patricia Mattle has been responsible for the autonomous market since March 2018 and is a Member of Senior Management in the AXA Pensions department. She joined AXA directly after completing her economics studies at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). She subsequently took on leading executive roles at AXA Global Life in Paris and at AXA US in New York.

How does AXA help the pension funds deal with these challenges?

Thanks to a wide range of modular solutions, we can respond to the needs of each pension fund. We strive for long-term partnerships that are based on optimal risk coverage. We not only reduce risk on financial, biometric and portfolio-related factors, but also match risk to the needs and capabilities of the pension fund administration. In this way, we offer insurance that can be combined with services in the areas of administration, accounting, asset management and case management.

"Our strength clearly lies in the full risk coverage of the regulations."

Patricia Mattle, Head of Autonomous Market

To what extent does case management play a role for pension funds?

Often, when a decision about disability is made, the disability already took effect some time ago, and the future of the person concerned is uncertain. In such cases, we respond in advance, and not at a later time. Our experts analyze the situation of the affected person and look for solutions that will allow them to retain their workplace. This represents a win-win situation for everyone involved: We aim to keep the affected person in the work process and thereby support their social environment too. At the same time, the employer retains the knowledge and experience of the affected employee, and the pension fund saves money.

Is there a current offer from AXA that is particularly popular in the market?

At present, the so-called «risk coverage of the regulations» is most in demand.

What does this refer to?

The key document for every insured person of a pension fund is the pension fund regulations. These define who is entitled to what services and when. From the point of view of the pension fund, this is a performance promise vis-à-vis its insured. As insured persons, we expect our pension fund to be able to meet its obligations and finance its performance promise at any time. In order to do this, the pension fund has to build reserves. Here, AXA's coverage of the regulations comes into play. Thanks to this, AXA assumes all benefit obligations of a pension fund in the event of the death or disability of one of its insured persons. This allows the pension fund to liquidate its reserves and use the freed-up funds for other purposes.

Which are AXA's target customer groups for these solutions?

Our clientele is very diverse. It includes, on the one hand, pension funds of companies - so-called company-owned pension funds - and, on the other hand, inter-company pension funds of professional associations. There is a considerable difference in the size and needs of our customers. Our many solutions include those for artists, for example. They provide a link to occupational benefits insurance, even if the insured takes on several employment relationships during the year and works at home and abroad.

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