10 February 2015News

Commercial specialty segment drives growth at Argo

Bermuda-based Argo posted a solid set of results of 2014, driven by growth in its commercial specialty and excess and surplus lines segments.

Argo’s profits grew to $183.2 million in 2014, compared with $143.2 million in 2013, while its combined ratio improved to 96.2 percent in 2014, compared with 97.5 percent for 2013.

The Bermuda-based company posted gross written premiums (GWP) of $1.91 billion for the year ended December 31, 2014, compared with $1.89 billion for 2013.

In its excess and surplus lines segment, GWP grew 2.2 percent to $607.2 million in 2014. Argo added that excluding the exit from the commercial auto book, GWP grew 10 percent versus 2013. Specialty property premium declined 20 percent compared to 2013, which Argo said reflected strong competition and increased capacity from US and London markets throughout the year. For 2014, underwriting income was $75.6 million compared to $54.1 million for 2013.

The commercial specialty segment posted GWP growth of 5 percent to $440.2 million, while underwriting loss hit $0.7 million in 2014, compared with underwriting income of $6.7 million for 2013.

International specialty and Syndicate 1200 suffered from decreases in GWP, to $290.2 million and $566.2 million respectively.

"Argo Group posted improved underwriting margins for the year, despite ever-increasing competitive pressures," said chief executive officer Mark Watson. “We reported record underwriting income in 2014 and a return on average shareholders’ equity of 11.4 percent.”