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Alteris Announces Acquisition of Sonoma Risk Insurance Agency and New Contract Litigation Insurance Program

Posted on 01 Oct 2012 by Neilson

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AlterisAlteris Inc., a services-oriented, complete solutions provider for the managing general agency community and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (AGII), announced today the acquisition of Sonoma Risk Insurance Agency, a litigation solutions provider and the first and only agency in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to providing contract litigation insurance (CLI).

Sonoma Risk Insurance Agency is based in Los Angeles and will continue to operate as a separate legal entity offering its products, plaintiff contract litigation insurance and defendant contract litigation insurance.

This niche insurance, underwritten by Zurich in North America, is targeted to individuals, businesses and corporations, and helps protect plaintiffs and defendants from paying their adversary's attorneys' fees should they lose their case. Until Sonoma Risk introduced contract litigation insurance in 2010, litigants in the U.S. did not have a way to insure against paying their adversary attorneys’ fees in contract litigation.

“A CLI policy reduces a significant financial unknown in litigation,” explains Sonoma Risk Insurance Agency President, and former litigator, Kevin Martin. “Policyholders feel more secure about their litigation risk exposure – they have a distinct advantage over their uninsured adversaries because they can make the decision whether to proceed to trial based on the merits of their case, without the influence and fear of an adverse attorney’s fee award.

“Since we started, we have insured parties in cases ranging from those in the local California courts to those that have been covered on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,” said Mr. Martin. What is common to each of these cases is the recognition that an insured with a CLI policy maintains a distinct advantage over the adversary.

“Our partnership with Alteris is an excellent strategic fit,” Mr. Martin continues. “Through Alteris’ program-centric philosophy, discipline and strength, we plan to leverage our expertise in the area of litigation to offer a full suite of litigation solutions and products.”

“The acquisition of Sonoma Risk gives us an opportunity to add an exclusive new program – the only one of its kind in the U.S. – to our portfolio and to expand our specialty operations to another industry sector,” said Alteris President Hilbert “Van” Schenck II. “Kevin and his team at Sonoma Risk are highly regarded in the industry and legal community and I'm pleased to have them onboard."


Alteris Inc. and Alteris Insurance Services Inc., members of Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (AGII), provide services-oriented, complete solutions, operating through three business divisions: Strategic Markets, Alternative Risk, and Commercial Subsets. Alteris offers managing general agencies and insureds access to a broad array of exclusive risk solutions for specialty programs and alternative risks including program placement, risk bearing solutions, capital support, strategic alliances, policy systems solutions, claims services, and reinsurance solutions. Information on Alteris is available at


Established in 2010, Sonoma Risk is the leading provider of innovative and affordable litigation insurance to individuals, businesses and corporations. Based in Los Angeles, Sonoma Risk is comprised of a skilled management team of seasoned professionals within the legal and insurance industries. Policies are underwritten by individual member companies of Zurich in North America, a leading global insurance carrier rated “A+ superior” by A.M. Best. For more information go to


Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (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