June 3, 2009
A.M. Best Inc., Oldwick, N.J. has cut by one notch the financial strength ratings of Fidelity National Financial Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., and its title insurance units. The New Jersey-based rating agency said the downgrades were due to the adverse implications of FNF's acquisition of the title insurance underwriting subsidiaries of LandAmerica Financial Group Inc., Richmond, Va. The deal made FNF the nation's largest title insurer with a 45% market share, but it also resulted in an increase in underwriting leverage. "While Fidelity in the past has shown an ability to manage large acquisitions, such as its acquisition of Chicago Title in 2000, the current negative business environment poses a greater challenge as it proceeds with the integration of its newly acquired underwriters," A.M. Best said.