A.M. Best Revises Fidelity Rating
June 8, 2010
A.M. Best Co. has revised the outlook to stable from negative and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "a-" for Fidelity National Financial Group (Fidelity) and its ten title insurance members. In addition, A.M. Best revised the outlook to stable from negative and affirmed the ICR of "bbb-" of the parent holding company, Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF).
The ratings are being affirmed and the outlook is being revised to stable from negative due to the group's stronger capitalization in 2009 as compared to 2008 as evidenced by a significant improvement in its underwriting leverage measures. The improved capitalization reflects the successful integration of the four former Land America underwriters that Fidelity had acquired in late 2008.
Also contributing to a change in outlook is a turnaround in Fidelity's operating performance in 2009 as compared to 2008 when the group suffered a significant operating loss due to a reserve strengthening of approximately $300 million primarily as a result of adverse development of the 2006 and 2007 policy years.
The parent holding company, FNF, has also strengthened its balance sheet following the issuance of approximately $330 million in additional common stock in 2009 which was almost exclusively used to pay down debt. As a result, FNF's financial leverage measures have improved as evidenced by a decrease in its debt-to-capital ratio from approximately 32 percent as of 2008 year end to approximately 21 percent as of 2009 Year End.