Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII), an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products, announced today that Pedro Purm Jr. has been selected to serve as chief executive officer for its commercial property and casualty insurance operations in Brazil. Mr. Purm will oversee the creation and operation of a new insurance company, located in São Paulo, which will operate in Brazil as an indirect subsidiary of Argo Group.

“We are pleased to have someone with Pedro’s strong credentials lead our new operation in this important market,” said Argo Group President and Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Watson III. “Expansion into the growing market of Brazil is a key component of our international strategy.”

Argo’s product suite in Brazil will consist of a broad range of commercial property, casualty and specialty coverages including engineering, professional, energy, cargo, marine, surety and aviation insurance.

Argo Group also announced that Jose Torres has joined the Brazilian operations of its Lloyd’s of London syndicate. Mr. Torres will develop opportunities for Argo Group’s syndicate in the Brazilian marketplace, where Lloyd’s of London is licensed as an admitted reinsurer. He will be based in Rio de Janeiro in the offices of Lloyd’s in Brazil.

“We are pleased to have Jose and Argo Group join the growing number of syndicates at Lloyd’s in Brazil,” said Marco Castro, Lloyd’s general representative and managing director for Brazil. “The development and growth of the Brazilian economy provide tremendous opportunities for reinsurers. Lloyd’s is pleased to expand the number of syndicates that can embrace these opportunities and develop business in this important market.”

“With our two operating platforms, we will have the ability to offer our clients access both as a direct insurer and through the reinsurance markets via our Syndicate at Lloyd’s,” said Argo Group Director of Product Development Nigel Mortimer.

Mr. Purm comes to Argo Group from Zurich Financial Services Group where he had been CEO of that company’s Brazilian operations since 1994. Prior to joining Zurich, Mr. Purm held senior positions at Safra Financial Group and Citicorp Insurance Brokers. Mr. Purm holds a bachelor’s degree from Universidade de São Paulo and an MBA from Fundação Getúlio Vargas.

Mr. Purm joins Christoph Glatz who will serve as chief financial officer and chief operations officer for the new Brazilian insurance company. The appointments of Mr. Purm and Mr. Glatz, as well as the licensing of the insurance company being established in Brazil, are subject to the approval of Brazil’s Superintendence of Private Insurance (SUSEP).

Mr. Torres brings to Argo Group more than 30 years experience in underwriting and business development, much of this focused on the Latin America market. Most recently, as senior vice president at the Navigators Group, he led the company’s marine and energy underwriting activities in the Latin America region.

Mr. Purm can be reached via email at or by phone in São Paulo at 55.11.3056.5585. Mr. Glatz can be reached via email at Mr. Torres can be reached at


Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII) is an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty market. Argo Group offers a full line of high-quality products and services designed to meet the unique coverage and claims handling needs of businesses in four primary segments: Excess & Surplus Lines, Commercial Specialty, International Specialty and Syndicate 1200. Argo’s insurance subsidiaries are A. M. Best-rated 'A' (Excellent) (third highest rating out of 16 rating classifications) with a stable outlook, and Argo’s U.S. insurance subsidiaries are Standard and Poor’s-rated 'A-' (Strong) with a stable outlook. More information on Argo Group and its subsidiaries is available at


This press release contains certain statements that are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements are qualified by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally and also may differ materially from actual future experience involving any one or more of such statements. For a more detailed discussion of such risks and uncertainties, see Argo Group's filings with the SEC. The inclusion of a forward-looking statement herein should not be regarded as a representation by Argo Group that Argo Group's objectives will be achieved. Argo Group undertakes no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Copyright Business Wire 2010