Argonaut Signs Definitive Purchase Agreement for Queensway Subsidiaries

Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Argonaut Group, Inc.

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas, April 18 /PRNewswire/ --
 Argonaut Group, Inc. ("Argonaut Group") (Nasdaq: AGII) announced today that,
 further to the binding letter of intent entered into and announced on February
 19, 2001, a subsidiary has signed a definitive purchase and sale agreement
 with Queensway Financial Holdings Limited to acquire the shares of North
 Pointe Financial Services, Inc., Hermitage Insurance Company, Consolidated
 Property & Casualty Insurance Company, and Universal Fire and Casualty
 Insurance Company for $40.0 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments.
 The transaction is expected to be accretive to Argonaut Group's earnings from
 the first year.
     It is anticipated that the transaction, which has been approved by the
 Boards of Directors of both companies and is subject to various regulatory and
 other consents and approvals, will be completed in the second quarter of 2001.
     The companies, which have been successful in the specialty niche insurance
 markets in which they operate, will bring Argonaut Group expertise in products
 that are complementary to products offered by Argonaut Insurance Company and
 Argonaut Great Central.  The addition of the companies to the Argonaut Group
 will enhance its position in the specialty market and broaden its product
 base.
 
     Argonaut Group is a national provider of specialty insurance products
 focused on high-quality customer service for specific niches of property-
 casualty insurance.  The Company has superior financial strength with assets
 of $1.5 billion, no debt, and ratings of its principal subsidiary of "A"
 (Excellent) from A.M. Best, and "A" by Standard & Poor's.  More information
 can be found on the Company's website at www.argonautgroup.com.
 
     This news release contains "forward looking statements" which are made
 pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
 Reform Act of 1995.  The forward-looking statements are based on the Company's
 current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their
 potential effects on the Company.  There can be no assurance that actual
 developments will be those anticipated by the Company.  Actual results may
 differ materially from those projected as a result of significant risks and
 uncertainties, including non-receipt of the expected payments, changes in
 interest rates, effect of the performance of financial markets on investment
 income and fair values of investments, development of claims and the effect on
 loss reserves, accuracy in projecting loss reserves, the impact of competition
 and pricing environments, changes in the demand for the Company's products,
 the effect of general economic conditions, adverse state and federal
 legislation and regulations, developments relating to existing agreements,
 heightened competition, changes in pricing environments, and changes in asset
 valuations.  For a more detailed discussion of risks and uncertainties, see
 the Company's public filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward looking
 statements.
 
 

SOURCE Argonaut Group, Inc.
    SAN ANTONIO, Texas, April 18 /PRNewswire/ --
 Argonaut Group, Inc. ("Argonaut Group") (Nasdaq: AGII) announced today that,
 further to the binding letter of intent entered into and announced on February
 19, 2001, a subsidiary has signed a definitive purchase and sale agreement
 with Queensway Financial Holdings Limited to acquire the shares of North
 Pointe Financial Services, Inc., Hermitage Insurance Company, Consolidated
 Property & Casualty Insurance Company, and Universal Fire and Casualty
 Insurance Company for $40.0 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments.
 The transaction is expected to be accretive to Argonaut Group's earnings from
 the first year.
     It is anticipated that the transaction, which has been approved by the
 Boards of Directors of both companies and is subject to various regulatory and
 other consents and approvals, will be completed in the second quarter of 2001.
     The companies, which have been successful in the specialty niche insurance
 markets in which they operate, will bring Argonaut Group expertise in products
 that are complementary to products offered by Argonaut Insurance Company and
 Argonaut Great Central.  The addition of the companies to the Argonaut Group
 will enhance its position in the specialty market and broaden its product
 base.
 
     Argonaut Group is a national provider of specialty insurance products
 focused on high-quality customer service for specific niches of property-
 casualty insurance.  The Company has superior financial strength with assets
 of $1.5 billion, no debt, and ratings of its principal subsidiary of "A"
 (Excellent) from A.M. Best, and "A" by Standard & Poor's.  More information
 can be found on the Company's website at www.argonautgroup.com.
 
     This news release contains "forward looking statements" which are made
 pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
 Reform Act of 1995.  The forward-looking statements are based on the Company's
 current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their
 potential effects on the Company.  There can be no assurance that actual
 developments will be those anticipated by the Company.  Actual results may
 differ materially from those projected as a result of significant risks and
 uncertainties, including non-receipt of the expected payments, changes in
 interest rates, effect of the performance of financial markets on investment
 income and fair values of investments, development of claims and the effect on
 loss reserves, accuracy in projecting loss reserves, the impact of competition
 and pricing environments, changes in the demand for the Company's products,
 the effect of general economic conditions, adverse state and federal
 legislation and regulations, developments relating to existing agreements,
 heightened competition, changes in pricing environments, and changes in asset
 valuations.  For a more detailed discussion of risks and uncertainties, see
 the Company's public filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward looking
 statements.
 
 SOURCE  Argonaut Group, Inc.