ARIS Announces International Advisory Board, Will Address Shifting Paradigm Of Global Art Industry

ARIS Title Insurance Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII), and headquartered in New York, United States, announced today its formation of an International Advisory Board, whose purpose will be to advise ARIS, through independent insight, in addressing the increasingly complex and evolving legal ownership issues facing the art industry including the museum and non-profit community on a global basis.

The advisory board will be comprised of leaders from the international business and insurance industries, academia and the commercial and non-profit sectors of the art industry.

“The art world, which has now reached $125B in global sales annually, is in the midst of a fundamental shift in paradigm from a tangential market to a subsector of the global economy, where the recognition of art and collectibles as a formal asset class is changing the industry from the outside inward at lightning speed,” said ARIS Chairman Lawrence M. Shindell, who will serve as Chairman of the International Advisory Board.

“We have witnessed a core shift in transactional attitude in the art and collectibles market worldwide to one where guaranteed clear legal title or ownership is the defining issue. We have seen this through the inquiries we receive from leaders in the international museum community; leaders in the global risk management, auditing and financial advisory sectors serving the art and collectibles markets; the fiduciaries serving the burgeoning investment sectors that focus on this alternative asset class; and from governments that are increasingly concerned about the regulation of international trade of collectible personal property,” added Shindell. “For these reasons, we have very deliberately shaped our advisory board to include thought-leaders from both the business world and the art world.”

Non-executive members of the ARIS International Advisory Board at inception are (in alphabetical order):
  • Dr. James M. Bradburne, Museum Specialist (former Director General, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany, and currently Director General, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy)
  • Dr. Ulrich Guntram, CEO, AXA Art, Cologne, Germany
  • Mark Fehrs Haukohl, President, The Vero Group, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Britt Newhouse, Chairman, Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, New York, New York, United States
  • Alain Vandenborre, Co-Founder, Singapore FreePort Pte Ltd , Republic of Singapore

“We are discussing membership on the board with a number of additional key business sector, art industry and academic leaders and expect to complete the composition of our board, capped at twelve, by year-end,” said Shindell.

“In our increasingly global economy, the complex risk management needs of diverse industry sectors continue to intersect,” said Argo Group President and Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Watson III. “As a leader in the insurance industry across many market sectors, one of Argo Group’s goals is to help shape market risk management through innovative solutions. The ARIS International Advisory Board is a prime example of this focus and will help us to understand better and shape an entire industry.”

ABOUT ARIS

ARIS Title Insurance Corporation is the recognized global authority on the subject of legal title risks impacting the fine art and collectibles market worldwide. ARIS is the world’s first underwriter of title insurance for fine art and other precious collectibles and the only insurer that underwrites title insurance for fine art and other important collectibles. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd., ARIS is a New York State domiciled title insurance company, headquartered in New York, New York, United States and operating through additional offices in London, Bermuda, São Paulo and Dubai. More information about ARIS is available at www.aristitle.com and www.argolimited.com.

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 materially differ 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