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Argo Group International Holdings has released its digital 2017 Annual Report, which highlights Argo’s diverse product portfolio, strong investment results and growth in gross written premium.
“2017 was an important year for Argo,” said Argo Group CEO Mark Watson in his letter to shareholders that introduced the report. “Despite significant, industry-wide catastrophe claims and underwriting challenges in the London market, our balance sheet held up well, and we finished the year in a better competitive position than we started.”
In the letter Watson pointed out that Argo Group served its customers faithfully through its claims handling. “The resulting losses affected our bottom line,” he says, “but they also remind us that we are fulfilling our mission: We’re here to help businesses stay in business.”
Watson’s letter also focuses on the future of insurance – a future in which Watson says Argo is uniquely positioned to excel. “For more than a decade, we have been anticipating the transformation currently underway in our industry, predicting the unavoidable disruption of our value chain, service delivery and capital structure,” said Watson. “Specialty insurance lives at the crossroads of new ideas and new threats. We are confident specialty underwriters will continue growing in importance as a critical support for new enterprises, enabling entrepreneurs to mitigate the considerable risks associated with early adoption of new technologies.”
Watson also discussed the ways in which Argo is building its digital expertise, developing new software, investing in leading and emerging technologies, and partnering with startups. He also notes Argo’s emphasis on attracting, developing and retaining a new generation of talent.
“By building digital expertise, often by forging creative partnerships with existing technology players, we can collaborate in ways that bring capital closer to the risk, reduce the complexity of our offerings and provide even greater value to our customers,” Watson said. “But responding to shifting economic and consumer demands are not the only reasons to change. We must also recognise and respond to the larger forces at play in the world and the risks they pose to our customers and to our own business as underwriters.”
Watson concluded the letter by saying that: “The speed and variety of emerging risks is growing. Yet the factors I’ve mentioned – capital, climate, new risk and talent – are the home turf of specialty insurance at which Argo excels. Specialty insurance lives at the crossroads of new ideas and new threats. We are confident specialty underwriters will continue growing in importance as a critical support for new enterprises, enabling entrepreneurs to mitigate the considerable risks associated with early adoption of new technologies. Today, we talk about such advances as drones, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. These are not merely categories of risk that require expert underwriting, they are themselves engines of innovation that will create new opportunity for insurers who are able to look ahead and who are willing to keep pace. We will continue to be one of them.”
Argo Group, annual report, 2017, Mark Watson