American Land Title Association
Home  >  News Room
News Room


SoftPro is the nation's leading provider of Real Estate Closing and Title Insurance software


Fitch Ratings Affirms Stewart Title Group Ratings: Outlook Stable

February 7, 2002

CHICAGO -- Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'A+' insurer financial strength ratings of Stewart Title Guaranty Company and its wholly owned subsidiary Stewart Title Insurance Company (collectively referred to as Stewart). The companies are ultimately owned by Stewart Information Services Corporation (NYSE:STC), a NYSE listed company. The Rating Outlook is Stable.

The ratings reflect Stewart's strong capital position as measured by Fitch's risk adjusted capital (RAC) ratio, high quality and very liquid investment portfolio, minimal debt leverage, and conservative reserving practices. Additionally, the ratings take into account the company's low operating leverage, reasonable agency monitoring and auditing controls, and good market positioning as a national title insurer.

The ratings also consider that the company's profitability has not met Fitch's expectations. The company's historical position as a leader in technology was anticipated to translate into enhanced profitability over time. To date, Fitch has not seen these technology related financial benefits. Fitch has noted the company's profitability in 2001 will likely be the best in Stewart's history, though Fitch believes the primary driver is favorable market conditions. For the current ratings, Fitch expects profitability to be among the best in the industry, and will continue to monitor Stewart's operating results to assess the company's ability to meet these expectations.

Fitch considers Stewart's capital position to be strong and a primary factor supporting the current ratings. In 2000, absolute capital grew to $199 million from $198 million in 1999. As of year-end 2000, Stewart's RAC ratio was 223% compared to an average RAC ratio of 169% for the five national title groups. Going forward, Fitch expects Stewart to maintain similar balance sheet strength.

Stewart is one of the nation's largest title insurance groups with a national market share of just over 10% in 2000 (according to ALTA). Over half of Stewart's premiums come from its five largest states: Texas, California, New York, Florida, and Colorado. Stewart distributes its products through more than 5,800 locations on properties located in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Close to 27% of its business comes from its affiliated agencies.

Entity/Issue/Type

Action

Rating/Outlook

Stewart Title Guaranty -- Insurer financial strength

Affirmed

'A+'/Stable.

Stewart Title Insurance Company -- Insurer financial strength

Affirmed

'A+'/Stable.

 

Source: Fitch Ratings



Print Friendly


How To Find Us:
American Land Title Association
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 705
Washington, DC 20036-5104
P. 202.296.3671 F. 202.223.5843
www.alta.org
service@alta.org
Copyright © 2004-2014 American Land Title Association. All rights reserved.
SecurityMetrics for PCI Compliance, QSA, IDS, Penetration Testing, Forensics, and Vulnerability Assessment