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Westfield acquires renewal rights to Argo shared and layered property book

Argo and Westfield logos.jpg

Argo is exiting its property shared and layered business, after the company agreed to sell renewal rights on the portfolio to excess and surplus lines start-up Westfield Specialty.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

As part of the transaction, several members of Argo’s US specialty property team will have the option to join Westfield.

The deal includes Argo’s shared and layered property business, which underwrites catastrophic-focused E&S property coverage through select wholesale brokers. Argo’s small-to-medium enterprise (SME) property policies are not included in this transaction.

Argo will continue to honor and service all policies currently in force, the company said in a statement.

“This transaction supports the company’s ongoing strategy to reduce volatility within the business,” said Marsh Duncan, Argo Group, president, excess and surplus. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that provides a smooth transition for our brokers and insureds.”

Jack Kuhn, Westfield Specialty president, said: “Expanding our property book of business allows us to accelerate our launch into the E&S property space, further ensuring our continued success

“This renewal rights transaction also gives us a unique opportunity to show our strong commitment to the E&S property market by offering customized insurance solutions, exceptional customer service, and superior claims handling to new property accounts at renewal.”

“The mix of primary versus excess business is indicative of a stable portfolio that limits volatility,” he commented. “We are excited to open our doors to our broker partners and provide fresh capacity into the market through the trusted, talented underwriters we have added over the past few week.”

Hendrix said the acquisition of the Argo portfolio aligned with Westfield’s strategy to deploy short limits “within target occupancy classes”.

The move comes as Argo works fervently to dampen the volatility in its portfolio, selling Ariel Re late last year, and steadily shedding limits in its property book.

It also comes not long after Westfield hired former Argo property executive Andy Hendrix to head up its property business.

CEO Kevin Rehnberg has been vocal about the company continuously assessing portfolio performance, and has made it clear that the company would exit businesses where acceptable returns at scale could not be met.

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