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Press release from Business Wire

Argo Group Announces Strategic Investment in SureTec

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Argo Group Announces Strategic Investment in SureTec08:00 EDT Tuesday, August 09, 2011 HAMILTON, Bermuda (Business Wire) -- Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII), an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products, today announced it has reached agreement on a strategic investment in SureTec Financial Corp., the parent of SureTec Insurance Company, a leading provider of contract and commercial surety bonds. The 20th largest surety writer in the U.S., SureTec was founded in 1998 by Chairman and CEO John Knox, Jr., who has owned and managed highly successful surety organizations since 1979. SureTec's focus on contractor performance bonds and the low limit commercial surety marketplace is a logical complement to Argo Group's own US surety operation, which already has an active trading relationship with SureTec that is expected to grow following the investment. "Argo Group, in just a few years, has assembled a world-class commercial surety team whose underwriting talent and track records are excellent," said Knox. "We're excited about our new association with Argo Group. I've known and admired senior management of the firm for decades." Argo Group CEO Mark E. Watson III said, "We are pleased to expand our existing affiliation with SureTec and particularly John Knox, who we respect as one of the best in the surety business. SureTec's talent in contract and transactional surety provides us with a great partner to leverage the strength of what Argo Group has been building and makes both organizations stronger. We also see this as an opportunity to invest in a first-rate franchise that will offer an excellent return on Argo Group's capital." The terms of the transaction, which remains subject to regulatory approval and will be concluded through one of Argo Group's US subsidiaries, were not disclosed. ABOUT SURETEC Through independent agents and professional surety producers, SureTec specializes in underwriting small-to-midsize contract bonds and commercial surety. Underwriting from the perspective of “Finding a Responsible Way to say Yes” in “Partnership with Professional Producers” is a fundamental cornerstone of SureTec. SureTec is rated A VII (Excellent) by A. M. Best Company. More information can be found by visiting SureTec's Website at www.suretec.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 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. Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd.Michael Russell, 512-750-4925Director of Investor Relations