Argo Comments On Results For Fourth Quarter

February 12, 2020

Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. announced today that its results for the fourth quarter of 2019 will be “adversely affected by certain loss and expense items,” summarized in more detail below.

“Argo’s results for the 2019 fourth quarter and full year are clearly unacceptable,” said Argo Group Interim CEO Kevin Rehnberg. “The industry is experiencing rising claims severity in several lines of business.

“We have taken appropriate action to adjust our current and prior accident year loss ratios in response to these conditions and to specific information received in the quarter. We believe the actions taken strengthen our balance sheet and position us for a more profitable future.”

“We are experiencing substantial rate increases across our platform, with strong double-digit gains in International and certain U.S. liability lines. Our capital position remains strong, we are continuing to refine our product strategies and we are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the specialty commercial insurance marketplace.”

Key items affecting the fourth quarter include:

  • Prior accident year losses of approximately $77 million or 18.0 points on Argo’s consolidated loss ratio for the fourth quarter. Reserve increases were related to the Company’s London, Bermuda Insurance and European business units within Argo’s International Operations, as well as property, professional and liability lines within Argo’s U.S. Operations. Prior accident year losses in both segments were the result of new information received in the quarter relating to claims trends across various lines of business, as well as a continued review of International business currently in run-off. Prior year losses also include the conclusion of Argo’s annual review of Run-off reserves, which resulted in a $10 million reserve increase.
  • Current accident year losses of approximately $30 million, or an additional 6 points when compared to the third quarter 2019 year-to-date current accident year loss ratio of 59%. The adjustment reflects a change in actuarial estimates based on a more uncertain claims environment and the recalibration of the current year based on prior accident year loss adjustments.
  • Catastrophe losses and related reinstatement premiums of approximately $3 million, or 0.5 points on Argo’s consolidated loss ratio for the fourth quarter. Catastrophe losses were primarily related to Typhoon Hagibis and were partially offset by a modest reduction to estimated losses for prior quarter events.
  • Additional operating expenses of approximately $12 million or 2.9 points related to costs associated with a reduction in workforce, an allowance for doubtful accounts related to our European business unit, and adjustments to underwriting expenses based on certain costs previously allocated to investment functions and trade capital providers.

Based on these items discussed above, Argo expects to report an underwriting loss of approximately $114 million for the quarter.

Additionally, several non-operating charges will be reflected in fourth quarter results:

  • As part of an ongoing strategic review and recent operating results, a goodwill impairment of approximately $16 million related to Argo’s European business unit.
  • Expenses of approximately $18 million related to losses and impairments on certain long-lived assets that are held for sale, primarily a corporate aircraft and real estate properties; the cancellation of contracts related to certain sponsorships and marketing services; and to severance costs associated with separation from Argo’s former CEO.
  • Other corporate expenses of approximately $8 million, which primarily resulted from costs related to the previously announced independent directors’ review of certain governance and compensation matters and Argo’s cooperation agreement with Voce Capital.

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