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Argo profits fall by more than half

Mark Watson, Argo Group's CEO

Argo Group International Holdings Ltd’s profit fell by more than half as investment results lagged.

Net income in the first quarter for the Bermudian insurer and reinsurer was $27.7 million, compared to $58.8 million in the same period of last year.

But the company’s operating earnings of $1.06 per share managed to exceed the 92 cents per share expectation of analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research.

Argo wrote more business, as gross premiums written rose 9 per cent to $519.8 million from $476.7 million in the same period last year.

Pre-tax underwriting income of $20.7 million in the first quarter of 2016 compared to $21.3 million in the first quarter of 2015. The combined ratio — the proportion of premium dollars spent on claims and expenses — was 94 per cent compared to 93.6 per cent in the first three months of last year.

Net investment income fell by $4.5 million to $21.2 million, while Argo also posted $2.8 million of realised investment losses, compared to the $11.1 million of realised gains in the first quarter of 2015.

“Argo’s first-quarter 2016 results represent a solid start to 2016 following a record year of underwriting profits in 2015,” Mark Watson, the company‘s chief executive officer, said.

“We remain focused on improving margins in our niche markets through disciplined underwriting, product innovation, and streamlining our business processes.”