Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NYSE:ARGO) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 25, 2020 • 11:00 am ET


Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NYSE:ARGO) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day, and welcome to the Argo Group 2019 Fourth Quarter Conference call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference over to Brett Shirreffs. Please go ahead.

Brett Shirreffs

Thank you, and good morning. Welcome to Argo Group's Conference Call for the Fourth Quarter of 2019. After the market closed last night, we issued a press release on our earnings, which is available in the Investors section of our website at Presenting on today's call is Kevin Rehnberg, Chief Executive Officer; and Jay Bullock, Chief Financial Officer. As the operator mentioned, this call is being recorded. As a result of this conference call, Argo management may make comments that reflect their intentions, beliefs and expectations for the future.

Such forward-looking statements are qualified by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations, generally, and may materially differ from actual future results involving any one or more of such statements. Argo Group undertakes no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements as a result of events or developments subsequent to this call. For a more detailed discussion of such risks and uncertainties, please see Argo Group's filings with the SEC.

I will now turn the call over to Kevin Rehnberg, Chief Executive Officer of Argo Group.

Kevin J. Rehnberg

Good morning, and thank you for the introduction, Brett. Welcome to everyone on the call. On today's call, I will review some operating highlights from the quarter, including our views on the current environment, then Jay will take you through the numbers of the quarter, and I will close by sharing some takeaways from my first quarter as CEO and our plans for the future before we open it up for Q&A. The pricing environment continues to strengthen, core product volumes are strong and many business units have made a very positive turn into 2020. But at the same time, we had substantial reserve strengthening in the quarter and full year, most notably for some of our international businesses. We recognize a group of specific claims and more diligently to capture any movement in loss trends. Jay will share additional perspective in his remarks.

Overall, investment results were good for the quarter and full year, and our capital position remains strong. Since being appointed interim CEO, I have been fully engaged with my teammates in reviewing operations and setting our game plan for 2020 and beyond. It's a work in progress, and it's a positive story. I'm thankful to the Argo team and to our producers and insurance clients for their collective support. The central message is that we have some excellent assets and a valuable competitive position in the Specialty commercial insurance and reinsurance arenas. And we're going to leverage our platforms to deliver on our financial objectives for our shareholders. So let's first cover some key points for the recent period. After we talk through the closing period of 2019, I want to come back and share some observations on the Argo enterprise and our priorities. Quarter four continued many of the results