Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII), an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products, announced today that it has established a locally domiciled insurance operation in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC).

The new company – Argo Re (DIFC) Ltd. – is a subsidiary of Argo Re, Ltd. in Bermuda, and a fully licensed insurance manager and intermediary in Dubai. The operation, which will serve as Argo Group’s hub for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, will focus initially on casualty, professional and financial lines insurance. Regional Chief Underwriting Officer Lina Hantas and Casualty Underwriting Manager Samir Hemsi will be leading the operation.

“A presence in the MENA market is a key component of our international expansion strategy,” said Argo Group Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Watson III. “Dubai represents one of the world’s fastest growing global financial centers and a local presence there serves to enhance the scale, flexibility and value we offer to our customers.”

“I’m excited about the strength of our new underwriting team in Dubai and their local knowledge of the MENA Region,” added Argo Group Chief Underwriting Officer Andrew Carrier. “I’m confident that Lina and Samir will make a positive impact through new and existing relationships with brokers and insurers as we offer an expanded product line in an important growing market.”

Argo Re Chief Underwriting Officer Nigel Mortimer commented, “Combine our strong financial rating with the best-in-class team we’ve hired, add the ability to leverage our global platform, and you have a unique franchise – one which can protect our clients and their exposures so that they can focus on building strong businesses in this dynamic and evolving legal environment.”

The product suite Argo Group will offer in the MENA Region will consist of a broad range of casualty, professional and financial lines coverages, including major construction projects and energy risks.

Dubai is the latest international business center in which Argo Group has established operations, following the opening of offices in Paris and Sao Paulo earlier this year.

Ms. Hantas will be responsible for building, developing and underwriting the liability book of business for Argo in the Middle East & North Africa region. She has worked in the insurance sector since 2003 and has a wide array of experience in liability in the MENA Region.

Mr. Hemsi will be responsible for building, developing and underwriting the professional liability and casualty book of business for Argo in Dubai and Jordan. He has worked in the insurance sector in the region since 2004 with experience in professional liability, casualty and property insurance.

Ms. Hantas can be reached via e-mail at lina.hantas@argore.com or by phone in Dubai at +971508124151. Mr. Hemsi can be reached via e-mail at Samir.hemsi@argore.com or by phone at +971508898175.

ABOUT ARGO GROUP INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS, LTD.

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 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 Group'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 www.argolimited.com.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

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.

“This communication is being issued and/or distributed by Argo Re DIFC Ltd. which is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The information contained in this communication is intended for Professional Clients only, and no other persons should act upon it.”

Copyright Business Wire 2010