Argo Group International Holdings, an underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products, has established Argo Assurances, the company's new Paris-based underwriting platform for large specialty risks.

Argo Assurances will initially focus on insurance solutions for space and aviation clients worldwide.

The company has appointed Bruno Ritchie to lead the new initiative.

As managing director of Argo Assurances, Ritchie will be charged with the creation of an underwriting platform based in Paris that will develop a portfolio of specialty risks for clients based in Continental Europe and throughout the world for certain specialty classes of business.

Ritchie brings over 16 years of experience in the fields of aerospace underwriting, business development and large risk underwriting strategy.

Most recently, Ritchie was the underwriting director of Hiscox’s Global Risks European office in Paris.

Prior to this, he was a divisional underwriter with Hiscox Lloyd’s Syndicate 33 in London, managing a portfolio of aerospace risks and professional indemnity risks for technology, media and telecom clients. Before that, he was head of aerospace underwriting with AGF, a unit of Allianz group, also in Paris.

Argo Group said aviation underwriting will now occur in both London and Paris. Recently, the group added aviation to its international portfolio in October 2010 with the hiring of Richard Bayman as class underwriter in its Lloyd’s operation.

Argo Group chief underwriting officer Andrew Carrier said that the group sees significant advantage in having access to both the London and Paris markets as market cycle-related opportunities present themselves in the future.