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Axa XL, a division of Axa SA
Having started in the insurance sector resolving issues of the past for one of the world’s oldest insurance institutions, Hélène Stanway now spends her time working on the future of the business.
As digital leader for Axa XL, a division of Axa SA, London-based Ms. Stanway played an instrumental part in one of the first commercial insurance blockchain applications and continues to lead innovation at the insurer.
After completing a degree in management science and French — a language that Anglo-French Ms. Stanway perfected on childhood trips to Switzerland — she looked for a job that matched her strengths.
“I was one of those people who chose to go into insurance and did not fall into it, because I could use the math side, my business skills and the French, because it’s a global business,” she said.
In 1995, she joined Equitas Ltd., the company formed to take on the long-tail liabilities of Lloyd’s of London syndicates, where she worked on reinsurance recoveries.
After six years, she joined a Lloyd’s syndicate now owned by Axa. After returning from maternity leave, she moved over to operations and held various roles before being asked to examine new technology trends at the beginning of 2016. She was named digital leader later that year.
“I was able to put a business lens on tech instead of being a pure technologist,” Ms. Stanway said.
One of the biggest projects she has led at Axa XL is a blockchain initiative released earlier this year. A collaboration between eight companies, including Ernst & Young LLP, Maersk A/S, Willis Towers Watson PLC and MS Amlin PLC, the product brings blockchain technology to marine hull insurance with automated war zone cover.
“She’s been really good at bringing a business perspective, talking about digital disruption in a way that underwriters and clients can relate to,” said Madeline Bailey, head of strategic initiatives at MS Amlin, who works with Ms. Stanway on the blockchain project.