AXIS Capital Announces New $750 Million Share Repurchase Authorization

  AXIS Capital Announces New $750 Million Share Repurchase Authorization

 Company Increases Quarterly Common Dividend by 4% and Declares Dividends on
                               Preferred Shares

Business Wire

PEMBROKE, Bermuda -- December 17, 2012

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited ("AXIS Capital") (NYSE: AXS) today announced
that the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized the Company to repurchase
$750 million of the Company’s common shares. The Board has authorized the
Company to effect repurchases under this new plan from time to time in open
market or privately negotiated transactions through December 31, 2014,
depending on market conditions. This new repurchase authorization, effective
January 1, 2013, will replace the existing authorization, which has $236
million available through December 31, 2012.

Further, the Company’s Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of
$0.25 per common share, an increase of 4%. The common dividend will be payable
on January 15, 2013 to the shareholders of record at the close of business on
December 31, 2012.

Albert Benchimol, President and Chief Executive Officer of AXIS Capital, said:
"AXIS Capital has a track record of generating significant value for
shareholders over the long term. An important component of this value creation
has been the return of capital to shareholders in the form of share
repurchases and a growing stream of common dividends. We are pleased to
announce this ninth consecutive annual increase in AXIS Capital’s common share
dividend since we began paying dividends following our initial public offering
in 2003.”

“We had indicated earlier this year that in 2012 we would return a meaningful
portion of earnings to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases
under the appropriate conditions. Through September 2012, dividends and share
repurchases aggregated to $410 million, and after including the expected
impact of Storm Sandy on our fourth quarter results, we expect to end the year
with increased common equity and total capital. In 2013, we fully expect to
continue to generate sufficient capital to support attractive growth
opportunities and maintain an active buyback program.”

In addition, the Board declared a dividend of $0.453125 per Series A 7.25%
Preferred Share, a dividend of $1.875 per Series B 7.5% Preferred Share and a
dividend of $0.429688 per Series C 6.875% Preferred Share. The Series A
Preferred Share dividend is payable on January 15, 2013 to shareholders of
record at the close of business on December 31, 2012. The Series B Preferred
Share dividend is payable on March 1, 2013 to shareholders of record at the
close of business on February 15, 2013. The Series C Preferred Share dividend
is payable on January 15, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of
business on December 31, 2012.

AXIS Capital is a Bermuda-based global provider of specialty lines insurance
and treaty reinsurance with shareholders’ equity at September 30, 2012 of $5.9
billion and locations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore,
Canada, Australia and Latin America. Its operating subsidiaries have been
assigned a rating of “A+” (“Strong”) by Standard & Poor’s and “A”
(“Excellent”) with a positive outlook by A.M. Best. AXIS Capital and AXIS
Specialty Finance LLC have been assigned senior unsecured debt ratings of A-
(stable) by Standard & Poor’s and Baa1 (stable) by Moody’s Investors Service.
For more information about AXIS Capital, visit our website at
www.axiscapital.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the
U.S. federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements contained in this
release include our expectations regarding market conditions and information
regarding our estimates of losses related to natural disasters as well as
information related to our capital management and position. These statements
involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Actual events or results may
differ materially from our expectations. Important factors that could cause
actual events or results to be materially different from our expectations
include: (1) actual claims exceeding our loss reserves, (2) the failure of any
of the loss limitation methods we employ; (3) the effects of emerging claims,
coverage and regulatory issues, including uncertainty related to coverage
definitions, limits, terms and conditions, (4) the failure of our cedants to
adequately evaluate risks, (5) general economic, capital, and credit market
conditions, (6) the use of industry catastrophe models and changes to these
models, (7) fluctuations in interest rates, credit spreads, equity prices
and/or currency values; (8) a decline in our ratings with rating agencies, (9)
the loss of business provided to us by our major brokers, and (10) the other
factors set forth in our most recent report on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and other
documents on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We undertake no
obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements,
whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact:

Investors:
AXIS Capital Holdings Limited
Linda Ventresca, 441-405-2727
info@axiscapital.com
or
Media:
Kekst and Company
Michael Herley, 212-521-4897
michael-herley@kekst.com
 
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