DIRECTOR, ARGO GROUP; BOARD SPONSOR
Kathleen A. Nealon became a director of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd., in 2011. Ms. Nealon’s international career includes significant experience with risk management, compliance and regulatory issues with global companies. Ms. Nealon was the Group Head of Legal and Compliance at Standard Chartered PLC in London from 2001 until her retirement in 2004 where she also held additional international legal and compliance positions from 1992 to 2001. Prior to Standard Chartered PLC, she practiced international banking and regulatory law in New York for 14 years. She is also the Co-chair of the European Advisory Board of Georgetown Law School and serves on the Advisory Council of the Institute of Business Ethics. Ms. Nealon also served on the boards of directors of Shire PLC from 2006 to 2010, and Halifax Bank of Scotland PLC from 2004 to 2009 when it was merged into Lloyds Bank PLC. In addition, Ms. Nealon served on the board of directors of Cable and Wireless Communications PLC and its predecessor company, Cable and Wireless PLC, from 2005 until 2011.
EVP & GROUP CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER; EXECUTIVE SPONSOR
Jay Bullock has served as Argo’s Chief Financial Officer for over ten years. During that time he has been responsible for leading all financial, actuarial and risk management resources. Mr. Bullock joined Argo Group in 2008 from Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., where he was Senior Managing Director and Head of Bear Stearns’ Insurance Investment Banking Group. Focusing on the insurance sector for more than 20 years, he advised companies on acquisitions, mergers and sales, as well as all forms of public and private financings and restructurings. While at Bear Stearns, he was an advisor to Argonaut Group, Argo Group’s predecessor, on a number of transactions. He is an honors graduate of Southern Methodist University and received his MBA from the McColl School of Business at Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also holds the designation of Certified Public Accountant.
GROUP CHIEF RISK OFFICER; SUSTAINABILITY LEADER AND SWG CHAIR
Alex Hindson joined Argo Group as Chief Risk Officer in 2015. He is responsible for the implementation of enterprise risk management across the company, as well as for Argo’s corporate compliance function and the company’s credit rating agency relations. He is also responsible for overseeing Argo’s internal capital modeling and the purchase of corporate insurance as well as the corporate Sustainability program. Previously, he was Chief Risk Officer of Amlin AG, the Swiss reinsurance operation of Amlin plc, where he was responsible for risk, compliance and legal functions across the company’s Bermuda branch and Zurich operation. Prior to that, he held other risk management roles at Amlin plc and Aon Global Risk Consulting. Mr. Hindson is originally a chemical engineer and worked for AstraZeneca in a variety of roles. He is a Certified Fellow, past Chairman of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), member of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and holds a master’s in integrated environmental management.
The Sustainability Working Group receives a detailed threat and opportunity analysis of the major sustainability risks facing the organization every six months and escalates key issues to the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Steering Committee. The Chief Risk Officer reports material sustainability-related issues directly to the Board Risk & Capital Committee on a quarterly basis as required. Material threats and opportunities tracked by the Sustainability Working Group currently include:
- ESG Indices – recognizing the growing influence of ESG ratings on shareholder perceptions and keeping pace with disclosure expectations by enhancing our communication.
- Climate change – classified by Argo Group as one of its material emerging risks, climate change is regularly monitored by the risk management function to assess its potential impact on the company’s business operations, insurance products and clients.
- Diversity & Inclusion – ability of Argo Group to attract and retain the talent it needs to grow and develop its business, particularly related to its innovation and digital strategies. This is a key feature of our Human Resource strategy and an area of focus for the company,
- Data Protection and Information Security – our dependency on information technology creates an exposure to cyberattack and potential loss of confidential information and our cyber protection program is constantly adapting to this threat landscape.
- Governance – ensuring that corporate governance and executive remuneration practices keep pace with developing international best practice standards and stakeholder expectations.
Culture and Values
At Argo Group, we’re a global team with unmatched expertise in specialty insurance. Our employees embody the Core Values that help drive our behaviors and decisions every day:
- We have the courage to do the right thing.
We empower our employees to make the tough decisions necessary for success. Our actions are guided by a deep sense of ethics and a belief in the individual’s potential.
- We apply original thinking.
We bring new ideas to our clients with foresight and an innovative spirit. Our creativity, agility and intellectual curiosity enable the evolution of their businesses.
- We are committed to our clients and to each other.
We focus on understanding our clients’ needs with specialized expertise and compassion. We form strong connections to grow thriving businesses.
- We desire to excel.
We enthusiastically commit ourselves to achieving high performance and delivering outstanding results. We have a passion for excellence and strive to exceed expectations in all that we do.
At Argo, we celebrate diversity and value the contributions of all our colleagues. Diversity across our workforce is a key to success and fundamental to our culture, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, physical ability, religion, national origin, political beliefs, experiences, education, work styles and many other characteristics.
We believe developing our employees professionally and personally strengthens our organization. In partnership with global business leaders, Argo Group provides innovative, creative experiences and tools curated to maximize employee engagement, connectedness and development – which naturally increases business performance and growth. Argo is also committed to providing professional development resources and training to all employees so they can continue to foster their careers. In fact, Training magazine ranked Argo Group in the top 125 organizations in the world in 2019 with the most successful learning and development programs.
Diversity & Inclusion
Argo Group is a global organization, and we are committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving an inclusive culture where you can thrive and be your authentic self. We recognize and value that human capital is the most valuable asset we have. Our staff are the very core in defining who we are as a company. For the third year in a row, Training magazine named Argo Group one of the top 125 organizations in the world with the most successful learning and development programs. Committing ourselves to being a champion of a diverse and inclusive work environment is key to innovating, developing and retaining a vibrant workforce.
Argo is committed to making diversity & inclusion a Board-led business strategy. We are committed to integrating diversity & inclusion values and practices into existing corporate processes and empowering the organization accordingly. We see diversity & inclusion as an opportunity to be leveraged for competitive advantage, not an obstacle to overcome and key to our strategic agenda.
We are committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect and strive to promote human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and we expect the third parties we work with do the same. We recognize that business has the responsibility to respect human rights and the ability to contribute to positive human rights impacts.
Argo Group strongly supports allowing for freedom of association and collective bargaining and providing a workplace free from discrimination and harassment, forced or child labor, and are committed to safe, healthy working conditions and the dignity of the individual.
The key Human Rights objective is to minimize incidences of infringement of human rights in the Company’s operations, including those managed by third parties. Human Rights risk exposures are recognized as an enterprise risk exposure with the Company’s enterprise risk management framework, and appropriate controls are maintained in place to reduce this risk to acceptable levels. The key exposures are considered to be related to the business partners we chose to work with and our ability to ensure appropriate due diligence oversight of their operations so that these do not bring us into disrepute. Failure to adequately manage these Human Rights exposures is recognized as potentially creating a material reputational risk exposure.
ArgoGlobal published a Modern Slavery Statement pursuant to Section 54, Part 6 of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and we have in place a number of due diligence processes and systems to mitigate the risk to the business of slavery and human trafficking:
- Risk management framework that identifies and assesses potential risk areas to the business such as slavery and human trafficking
- Mitigation of risk in our supply chains by setting clear requirements and expectations for our potential outsourcing partners and suppliers
- The monitoring of outsourcing partners and suppliers to ensure that the level of risk of slavery and human trafficking to Argo remains low
- Ensuring that there are in place the appropriate recruitment processes and procedures (the relevant due diligence and vetting is carried out on all recruitment agencies that are listed on the Argo panel)
- Protecting whistle blowers; Argo has adopted a whistleblowing policy to ensure that all employees feel comfortable and confident to report any acts of malpractice by their colleagues, management, customers and other market practitioners
Our company and employees are dedicated to the communities in which we live and work. We demonstrate this by giving back in a variety of ways – from the Argo Foundation, which invests in programs and services that enrich the lives of Bermuda’s youth, to the Matching Funds Program, in which we match 150 percent of employee donations to charitable organizations. Argo also supports employee participation in local fundraising events, including education, the arts, social services and other community activities.
Occupational Health & Safety Management
Argo Group accepts its duty to prevent injury and ill health to our employees and all other stakeholders. We are committed to taking a comprehensive, programmatic, and preventive responsibility for Occupational Health & Safety. Every employee has the right to feel safe at work.
Argo is committed to complying with all local legal and regulatory requirements as they apply to Health & Safety and monitoring compliance with these requirements on an ongoing basis. The key Occupational Health & Safety objective is to minimize the number of instances of occupational accidents and illnesses and ultimately achieve an accident-free workplace and activities.
Climate Change Vulnerability
Argo Group recognizes the impact of climate change on the global community, and that is why we consider climate change in both our modeling of risk exposure and our underwriting decisions. We have developed our own view of risk, which is used to make underwriting and management decisions. It is based on a combination of third-party vendor models, plus our proprietary adjustments.
In cases where a model does not exist or is not appropriate, we have developed proprietary models: for example, for North American wildfires, marine, political violence, clean energy, and others. We further demonstrate our commitment to addressing climate change issues through our active membership in ClimateWise, a global insurance industry leadership group facilitated by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. As part of our membership, we endeavor to adhere to the ClimateWise Principles, which guide members’ contribution to the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. In 2019, we were honored to have Argo Group SVP, Head of Analytics, Dr. Federico Waisman elected to the ClimateWise Managing Committee. Argo Group has also organized external events, linked below, to raise awareness within the reinsurance market of the various third-party models and their underlying assumptions and data and, specifically, their application in the context of climate risk/climate change.
Argo Group is committed to maintaining the highest standards of environmental management performance and adopting a long-term sustainable approach to caring for and safeguarding the environment as it relates to its business operations.
The two key Environmental Management objectives are to minimize the impact of Argo’s business operations on the environment in terms of using the principles of reducing, reusing, and recycling of materials to mitigate as far as is reasonably practicable the depletion of natural resources. Secondly, to focus on improving energy efficiency in the buildings, we operate from using energy conservation best practices. Such measures reduce energy costs as well as supporting innovative technology solutions.
To this end Argo Group has established a formal Environmental Management Policy, the owner of which is the Group Chief Risk Officer (CRO), who acts as the formal lead for the Environmental Management System (EMS). The CRO reports directly to the Chief Executive and Board Risk & Capital Committee on environmental management matters.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Our Scope 2 emissions result is exclusively from purchased electricity and represents 93 percent of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. We used the ISO 14064-1 greenhouse gases-part 1: specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals, to quantify, monitor, report and verify our GHG emissions.
With 2019 as our base year for calculation, our methodology for measuring carbon footprint is evolving, and some data gaps exist. The following key points from our methodology ensure transparency in our approach.
Our organization is made up of multiple facilities, our GHG calculation was based on the equity share approach. As a global company with operations in different jurisdictions we determined our GHG inventory across 40 locations.
Scope 3 is the indirect emissions in a company’s value chain, such as business travel. Our scope 3 business travel has been quantified by air travel only. We have several travel agents that we collected data to establish a baseline for 2019 business air travel. When there were gaps in the information, estimates were made based on data from another travel provider used in the same analysis; this was our calculation method.
Our scope 3 data has allowed us to examine new business goals on our inventory, by recognizing and understanding the risks and opportunities associated with value chain emissions, and identifying GHG reduction opportunities, by setting reduction targets and tracking performance.
Should there be any changes to the qualitative and/or quantitative criterion used to define or any significant changes to the data, inventory boundary, methods, or any other relevant factors, we will recalculate the base year. A significance threshold that triggers a base year emissions recalculation will be disclosed.
Efforts were made to find the appropriate internationally recognized sources for all global emission factors, and where it was not possible, comparable conservative estimates were made. Assumptions made in the calculations of emission factors also contribute to the variations in the data that may to the base year being recalculated.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are an integral part of Argo’s strategy to ensure the long-term viability of its portfolios. Responsible investing is an important part of our overall sustainability strategy, and it reinforces our commitment to the company’s core purpose of helping businesses stay in business.
Our investment team continuously monitors for threats and opportunities to enhance our portfolios. This includes a focus on the ESG factors that could have material impact on our investments – a process that has been a cornerstone to Argo’s investment approach. Integrating these factors into our investment strategy is essential to creating value for our internal and external stakeholders.
Argo Group underscores its role as a responsible corporate citizen by working to minimize the environmental impact of our office services, facilities and technology operations. We actively recycle in most of our offices, and as much as possible, we operate in a paperless environment.
Argo Group’s ERM strategy is rooted in our vision for managing risk: Risk intelligence enables Argo to achieve its strategic objectives by taking appropriate risks and exploiting opportunities. Our goal is to ensure Argo employees have access to the appropriate tools, processes and training to enable them to make informed and timely risk-based decisions. That is why our ERM framework continues to mature in line with International Standard ISO 31000 (2018) and why it informs our risk–reward choices. For the second year in a row, InsuranceERM has recognized our commitment to ERM by honoring Argo with the 2020 Risk Innovation of the Year award for its approach to blending product disruption analysis and innovation with emerging risk management. InsuranceERM also awarded Argo 2020 Risk Management Team of the Year for the Capital Modeling team’s efforts to place the internal capital model at the center of business planning and decision making.
We are committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct. Our Board of Directors provides oversight of the company’s affairs and continuously looks for ways to improve and build upon our strong corporate governance practices. We are dedicated to ensuring that our accounting and reporting systems operate with integrity and that our financial results accurately and fairly reflect the results of our operations. We strive to consistently provide financial information that is objective, transparent, timely and relevant. Abiding by these principles is vital to securing trust and respect from our shareholders, customers, employees and business partners.
Argo Group is committed to improving business results through mutually beneficial partnerships, programmatic performance analysis, vendor governance, reporting, and continuous improvement. Vendor management is the process that empowers an organization to take appropriate measures for controlling cost, reducing potential risks related to vendors, ensuring excellent service deliverability, and deriving value from vendors.
Our approach to managing vendors is to establish, maintain, monitor, and evaluate vendor relationships to reduce risks, contain and reduce cost, and achieve greater levels of collaboration in the delivery of competitive advantages to the company. Proper vendor management means conducting thorough due diligence during the selection of new vendors, continuous monitoring activities and management oversight of existing vendors, and proactively managing contracts before the end of renewal periods and the addition of addendum.
Our vendor management framework consists of a governance structure to set expectations and provide oversight, direction, thought leadership and accountability, and a policy that provides the foundation of principles, rules, and guidelines for the vendor management process. The Vendor Management Governance establishes vendor decision making rights and creates accountabilities to ensure optimal performance, compliance and risk mitigation.
The Vendor Management Office is responsible for overseeing the implementation and reviews of the vendor management reporting and the ongoing monitoring of performance and risk. Documents supporting the vendor management process such as the Data Privacy Controls, policy development, implementation plans, consultation, communication and training, target setting and annual reviews will be the responsibility of the Vendor Executive Committee.