A.M. Best Affirms Ratings of Fidelity National Financial Group's Title Companies
|June 14, 2006|
Revises Outlook To Positive
OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)- --A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) of "a-" of Fidelity National Financial Group's (Fidelity) (Jacksonville, FL) (NYSE: FNT) eight title insurance subsidiaries. In addition, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of "bbb-" of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (Jacksonville, FL) (NYSE: FNF), the parent holding company. The outlook for all ratings has been revised to positive from stable. The ratings reflect the group's solid capitalization, favorable operating results and strong market profile as the largest title insurance group in the United States.
The positive rating factors are somewhat offset by the group's challenge to manage future economic cycles, inherent risks with managing significant premium growth in recent years and elevated debt leverage at the parent holding company on a consolidated basis.
The revision in the group's rating outlook is based on its recently announced reorganization plan, which would eliminate the current holding company structure (which includes both insurance and non-insurance operations), and create separate holding companies for the insurance and non-insurance operating entities. The proposed new holding company for the insurance operating entities would be publicly traded and will retain the FNF ticker symbol. It would include Fidelity's title insurance companies, specialty lines including property and casualty insurance and home warranty, a minority ownership in Sedgwick CMS, a claim processing company and other assets. The new structure would result in significant de-leveraging, as the elevated financial leverage of the non-insurance operating entities known as Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) is not included.
The outlook is also based on the title group's solid capitalization, favorable operating earnings and leading market position.
The FSR of A- (Excellent) and the ICR of "a-" have been affirmed for the following members of Fidelity National Financial Group:
Source: A.M. Best Co.