Argo Group, an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance, has seen its net income fall by more than half in the first quarter of 2016.
The company reported a net income of $27.7 million for the first quarter of the year, down from $58.8 million in the prior year quarter.
Argo’s combined ratio was also up slightly to 94 percent in the quarter, compared with 93.6 percent for the first quarter of 2015.
Despite this, the firm’s gross written premiums (GWP) were up 9 percent to $519.8 million in the first quarter of the year, compared to $476.7 million in the first quarter of 2015.
GWP grew in all sectors of the company, however it increased the most in Argo’s Syndicate 1200, up 14.2 percent, driven by new business and higher renewals in both its property and liability businesses.
Argo’s estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses were $3.3 million or 0.9 points on the combined ratio, compared to $3.0 million or 0.9 points on the combined ratio for the first quarter of 2015. Its loss ratio, excluding catastrophes and reserve development for the first quarter of 2016, was 55.5 percent, compared with 55.1 percent for the first quarter of 2015.
During the quarter, the company repurchased $19 million or 343,652 shares of its common stock at an average share price of $55.32, which represents 1.2 percent of net shares outstanding at December 31, 2015.
"Argo’s first quarter 2016 results represent a solid start to 2016 following a record year of underwriting profits in 2015,” said Mark Watson III, chief executive officer, Argo. "We remain focused on improving margins in our niche markets through disciplined underwriting, product innovation, and streamlining our business processes."